Jamaica is among over a
dozen Caribbean nations, including Grenada, and Antigua & Barbuda which
have joined a progressive group of nations across the globe that are determined
to protect 30% of the planet’s ocean and land resources by 2030.
The 30x30 target which is supported by science, is being advanced by the High Ambition Coalition for Nature & People (HAC), in a bid to fight the triple threats of biodiversity loss, environmental degradation and climate change.
In a release, the HAC noted that the Caribbean is no stranger to these issues and has shown ambition in advancing climate solutions and advocating for high biodiversity protection targets. It noted that through its support of the 30x30 target, the Caribbean region continues to showcase its leadership to the globe.
The release further noted that globally, only 7% of oceans and 15% of land are designated as protected.
“In order to meet the goal, the HAC has been gathering pledges from global governments ahead of signing the major biodiversity treaty in Geneva in April. The Coalition is co-chaired by Costa Rica and France, with the United Kingdom named as the Ocean co-chair. So far, over 85 nations have indicated their commitment to the science-backed 30x30 target including the United States, Canada, the Marshall Islands, the Maldives, and several of the European Union’s member states”, the release stated.
Discussing the importance of the global 30x30 target for Caribbean nations with the HAC, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Senator the Hon. Matthew Samuda noted that protecting the unique biodiversity of the Caribbean region is paramount.
“We are a product of our environment - protecting our reefs, forests, coastal areas and other green spaces ensure that we are protecting ourselves as well as future generations. The latest IPCC report is clear, we must act now to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, and the HAC 30x30 target provides us with a pathway towards doing just that. Jamaica, and the Caribbean region as a whole, have advanced innovative sustainable solutions. We must lead as models of resilience and climate action, and by taking part in the 30x30 goal, we are leading by example and showcasing what the Caribbean can achieve” Minister Samuda stated.
The 30x30 goal is part of a larger sustainable development movement that includes the Global Ocean Alliance (GOA), a programme that specifically targets the creation of new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
Several Caribbean countries have already sealed their commitment to the GOA. However, the HAC notes that given the important connection between land and sea in the region, ensuring that land resources are simultaneously protected is just as crucial.
The HAC has identified terrestrial protection as an important and undervalued conservation target.
“The protection of 30% of the planet would generate several benefits, including:
● Safeguarding 500 gigatonnes of carbon stored in vegetation and soils
● Reducing the risk of zoonotic disease outbreaks like COVID-19
● Supporting 30 million jobs and $500b of GDP in ecotourism and sustainable fisheries
● Restoring depleted fishing grounds and fish populations by 600% and
● Increasing food security and improving local economies”
Minister Samuda is currently in Nairobi, Kenya where he attended the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), and the special session to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP@50).