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The Royal Society of Biology wrote earlier this month to Defra secretary of state, Thérèse Coffey, ahead of the COP15 summit in Montreal, Canada, urging Government to deliver vital protection of biodiversity.


The conference, which is currently running from 7th-19th December 2022, will bring together governments from around the world with the hope of developing a new set of goals prioritising biodiversity, including the final developments of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. One of RSB’s priority areas for our policy work involves raising the profile and communicating the evidence-base for biodiversity in policymaking.

Ahead of the biological diversity conference, Dr Mark Downs CBiol CSci FRSB, RSB chief executive, sent a letter asking policymakers to be as committed to COP15 as they were to COP27, ensuring the country will “treat biodiversity with the same level of concern” as the related problem of climate change.

RSB laid out the importance of halting and reversing biodiversity loss, referencing its catalysis of altering patterns of infectious disease and therefore increasing human exposure to new and established zoonotic pathogens.

As well as factors of health and wellbeing, the economic impacts were highlighted, where “recent ecosystem losses are estimated to have cost USD 4 trillion–USD 20 trillion per year.”

Dr Downs commented: “these issues will only continue to increase unless serious and immediate action is taken.”

RSB urged the Government to maintain its goal to prevent biodiversity loss in tandem with its Net Zero transition and its 30by30 initiative, noting the importance that “these are not deviated from as a result of national or international pressures.”

The letter concludes: “With positive action, there is still a real chance of halting the disastrous effects of biodiversity loss on both our world ecosystems and our society which entirely relies on them, before it’s too late.

“COP15 presents a real opportunity for high-level representatives from various nations to come together face to face, and finalise a plan that will provide a sustainable future for our planet.

“If we do not achieve this, the consequences will be catastrophic.”

The full text of the letter can be read online. It was also sent to Lord Benyon, Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Lord Goldsmith, the Minister for Overseas Territories, Commonwealth, Energy, Climate and Environment at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO).