Opening statement by Federal Chancellor Dr Angela  Merkel at the One Planet Summit for Biodiversity

Mr President, dear Emmanuel,

Secretary-General,

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentleman,

Natural habitats are being destroyed every day. We risk losing around a quarter of most plant and animal species. These drastic losses have a grave impact on life and quality of life, including for us humans. And so we must step up our efforts to protect biodiversity and natural habitats – not some time or other, but now, and not somehow or other, but monumentally. If we do not, the consequences will soon be irreversible. This summit is thus sending out a crucial message as the COP 15 approaches.

I am delighted to be able to announce on behalf of Germany that we will be joining the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People launched by France and Costa Rica. We will work with this coalition in the run‑up to the COP 15 to call for 30 percent of the world’s land and sea to be protected.

We are providing developing and emerging economies with funding for protected territories through the Legacy Landscapes Fund. I strongly urge other countries to join this effort.

Our forests are essential for biodiversity and climate change mitigation. We must work relentlessly to prevent further deforestation. To help protect rainforests, Germany has worked with Norway and the United Kingdom to make five billion US dollars available over the last five years. I also support the Alliance for the Preservation of Forests initiated by France in 2019. And, of course, I am delighted that the Amsterdam Declarations Partnership under Germany’s chairmanship has been such a vocal advocate of deforestation-free agricultural commodity supply chains.

We know that protecting forests also protects health. In other words, humans increase the risk of pathogen transmission when they destroy forests, break up natural habitats and strain previously untouched ecosystems. We humans can only truly flourish on a healthy planet with a rich and healthy tapestry of animals and plants. This is the core of the One Health approach. We have worked with France to launch the One Health High-Level Expert Panel. This panel aims to facilitate cooperation between the WHO, the FAO, the World Organisation for Animal Health and the UN Environment Programme.

It was also very important to set up an international alliance in order to combat the direct transmission of diseases from animals to humans in the wildlife trade. We know how crucial this is.

There cannot be any doubt that if we care about our health, human health, then we must act with the utmost resolution to protect nature and biodiversity as well. And so I hope that this summit will be as successful as we urgently need it to be. I would like to thank everyone involved for your dedication and urge you not to let up in your efforts.


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