“The rapid loss of nature, ecosystems and biodiversity is not only threatening our environment but also health, diets, development, social equity and human rights.”– WWF & Civil Society Call to Action
Hivos stands firmly behind this statement, which encapsulates a broad civil society call to action urging heads of state and government to set nature, ecosystems, and society on a path to recovery by 2030. Coordinated by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and signed by fellow development and humanitarian organizations, the call to action outlines five key actions we must take to build a safe, healthy, and equitable future for all people and our planet.
Reset our relationship with nature
Along with the climate crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic is living proof that the exploitation of natural resources takes an enormous toll on our planet. Deforestation, and using nature and ecosystems as a means of production, has brought us into closer contact with wild animals and exposed us to new viruses like Covid-19. Global demand for commodity crops, like soy for animal feed and palm oil, drives the large-scale production that is destroying ever more habitats and biodiversity in the tropics. At the same time, the dominant model of factory farming and monocultures is equally hostile to biodiversity and healthy soils. This model also heavily depends on the fossil fuels that ultimately cause climate change.
This is why Hivos supports a plan that tackles these root causes of the Covid-19, biodiversity and climate crises. A plan that includes switching to more sustainable agricultural methods, as well as halting the loss of natural habitats and restoring them in a way that respects indigenous foods and local communities. Furthermore, we want to see a Covid-19 recovery that is both green and inclusive.
A key role for marginalized groups
Another consequence of stretching these planetary boundaries so far is that it exacerbates existing inequalities within our societies. The impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss are especially felt by marginalized communities: smallholder farmers; low-income consumers; ethnic minorities; Indigenous Peoples, and women in particular. Women are critical in preserving biodiversity, but less equipped to adapt and adjust. Many rural women and Indigenous groups are natural resource custodians, safeguarding biodiversity as they pass on traditional knowledge about these resources, like indigenous seeds. We believe that enabling women and other marginalized groups to become more resilient will help bolster food security by making food systems more sustainable and diverse, while we tackle the longer term challenge of mitigating climate change.