Conservation charities urge Rishi Sunak to lead an “Urgent Conversation” at COP15 and push for global deal to save nature

● Coalition of leading UK conservation charities, urges Rishi Sunak to attend COP15 summit and push for a global deal to halt and reverse biodiversity loss.
● The Urgent Conversation Campaign calls on people across the UK to sign a petition pushing the Prime Minister to lead the global conversation on nature
● Autumnwatch presenter and naturalist Chris Packham among high-profile supporters highlighting the urgency of the nature crisis, with many species on the brink of extinction
● Grammy Awards choreographer Sadeck Waff has joined forces with students to create a stunning “murmuration” dance, highlighting the hope and beauty in global cooperation.

A short clip of the murmuration is available here.

The campaign is calling on the public to sign a petition addressed to Rishi Sunak, asking him to take the lead at the COP15 summit on biodiversity and fight for a global deal to halt and reverse nature loss across the world by 2030.

Sign the petition here.

The summit, which takes place in Montreal in December, has already been delayed by two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This meeting of global leaders is a critical moment if the world is to secure a deal to protect and restore nature this decade.

Many of our most important species here in the UK, including birds, insects and other pollinators that are critical to ecosystem health and food production, are in decline and at risk of extinction.

Worldwide, over one million species are threatened with extinction, with the global decline in nature putting climate, food, air and water security at risk.

In the UK alone, 15% of species are at risk of completely disappearing, including more than a quarter of mammal species, and many pollinators, especially wild bees and butterflies. 44% of species are in population decline, including 16 out of 20 of Britain’s favourite garden birds. The UK is one of the worst places in the world for how much nature it has left, coming in 228th out of 240 countries and territories.

Chris Packham, naturalist and Vice President of Butterfly Conservation said: “We need the UK Government to take responsibility and engage in an urgent conversation about the single most important topic there is: the future of life on Earth. At COP15, we need the UK to lead the way in developing a plan to protect and restore nature by 2030 because currently there is no plan.

“Nature must be protected, and we must talk about how that’s going to happen. COP15 is a once in a decade opportunity for world leaders to set targets that ensure that the natural world is in a healthier state by 2030 and biodiversity is restored for generations to come, and it's absolutely essential that the UK fights for the strongest possible deal.”

The coalition, which includes the Butterfly Conservation, RSPB, WWF, the Woodland Trust, the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, Plantlife, and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, is calling for the Prime Minister to push for a global deal at COP15 that includes agreements to:

● Halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity by 2030
● Set 2030 goals that will prevent extinctions, recover species populations, and retain
and restore habitats
● Protect 30% of land and sea for nature by 2030 in a fair and effective way
● Set 2030 targets that will reduce the negative pressures humans put on nature
globally by 50%, including from pollution and the unsustainable use of natural
● Provide the money and resources needed to restore nature, whilst empowering local
people and indigenous communities, and holding countries accountable for their

The Urgent Conversation campaign is supported by public figures and advocates for the natural world including Chris Packham CBE; Dr Amir Khan, GP, broadcaster and author; and Dara McAnulty, conservationist and author of Diary of a Young Naturalist and Wild Child.

As a reminder of our connection to nature and the importance of passing down a healthier planet to the next generation, the campaign has teamed up with renowned choreographer Sadeck Waff and a group of 80 students to perform a “human murmuration”, calling for action and declaring that conservation is a huge priority for young people facing an uncertain future.

Sadeck said: “This performance is about recovery and hope. It is inspired by the murmuration of birds and the beauty they create when they move as one. When you see the passion of these young dancers working together, you can’t help but feel hopeful.

“Our world leaders should follow the example of the birds, and these dancers, at COP15, and cooperate to create something beautiful - a plan for the future of nature.

“Ending biodiversity loss is possible if we all work together.”