Fersiwn Gymraeg ar gael yma.
Nature is in crisis in Wales. It is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world, and one in six species in Wales are at risk of extinction.
This situation can and must be turned around, but the window to do this is closing fast. This current decade will be critical to the future of nature in Wales.
We need Wales to become Nature Positive by 2030, in line with global calls for a goal for nature equivalent to the ‘net zero’ goal for carbon emissions which has galvanised climate action.
What does Nature positive mean?
Nature Positive means halting and starting to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, with continuing recovery so that by 2050 nature is thriving across land and sea. With a major global nature summit - the Convention on Biological Diversity COP15 - taking place in China later this year, we want the Welsh Government to support Nature Positive as a global goal and show leadership by committing to achieve a Nature Positive Wales.
How do we achieve a Nature Positive Wales?
Two new Welsh laws will be vital:
We need a new environment protection bill to create a strong independent environmental watchdog, and to set targets for nature’s recovery. Despite many promises dating back to 2018, Wales is now the only part of the UK without an independent body to oversee the implementation of environmental laws by government and other public bodies, leaving nature more vulnerable to damage and undermining Welsh citizens’ rights of access to environmental justice.
The Welsh Government has also made a welcome promise to set legally binding targets for nature’s recovery. With a new global deal for nature on the horizon, now is the time to act to avoid another ‘Lost Decade’ of delay and inadequate action. Legally binding targets will be crucial to driving action to halt, and start to reverse, the loss of nature by 2030.
The upcoming Agriculture Bill has huge potential to help farmers improve nature on their land, as well as tackling climate change. More than 80% of Welsh land is farmed and the Welsh Government must act now to ensure its new Sustainable Farming Scheme creates a farming industry that is efficient, resilient and better for nature. By providing ‘Public Money for Public Goods’ this new scheme can provide income to farmers for restoring nature, and in so doing tackling climate change and securing healthy soils, clean air and water, on their land. With the right support, nature and farming can go hand in hand to restore biodiversity in Wales.
Governments across the world are coming together at COP15 to agree ambitious targets for nature’s recovery over the next decade. Wales must step up and commit to ambitious goals and targets at home as well and set these out in legislation. We know that without laws in place to drive action and provide accountability, Wales has failed to meet previous targets for nature.
Urgency is key – our natural world will not be protected and restored until the Welsh Government steps up and commits to introducing these laws. Without quick and decisive action the situation could become much worse.
The clock is ticking: if we don’t act now, the wildlife we love and depend on for our wellbeing, our inspiration and life supporting benefits like clean water and air, will be lost.
Image credit: Ben Andrew (rspb-images.com)
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