Recognizing that the solutions to many of our problems already exist in nature, the Biden-Harris administration is investing in nature to solve many of our greatest challenges. Last year, President Joe Biden issued Executive Order 14072, to strengthen America’s forests. EO 14072 stresses the importance of forest conservation and restoration because forest ecosystems are essential elements in U.S. efforts to address the biodiversity crisis.
The U.S. government “is very actively engaged on all kinds of work to protect biodiversity around the world,” said Monica Medina, Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental And Scientific Affairs and Special Envoy for Biodiversity and Water Resources. That includes the new, first-ever global agreement to take a cross-sectoral approach to protect areas of the ocean beyond national jurisdiction.
The text of the High Seas Treaty, as it is called, was finalized by United Nations member states in March. Whereas only 1.2 percent of these waters are currently under comprehensive protections from damage caused by pollution, overfishing, shipping, and deep-sea mining, once the High Seas Treaty enters into force, it will provide the ability to advance the goal of achieving the conservation or protection of at least 30 percent of the global ocean by 2030.
“That's half the planet now, with the potential to be protected for the first time ever,” said Assistant Secretary Medina. “We are very committed in the U.S. to the 30x30 pledge, both internationally helping our partners around the world achieve that goal, but also doing it here at home.”
Indeed, as part of the 30x30 initiative, the United States is increasing its investments in parks and protected natural areas, improved water quality, and land, water, and forest conservation. The 30x30 initiative “is something that President Biden pledged to do during his campaign,” said Assistant Secretary Medina.“We are now very close to achieving 30 percent of our domestic ocean territory as protected, and on land. We're increasing the number of protected areas through the creation of some new monuments that the president just announced a few weeks ago.”
Biodiversity is declining at a catastrophic rate. The importance of conserving at least 30 percent of the Earth--both ocean and land—cannot be over-stated. It is vitally important to supporting nature, and so protecting its capacity to sustain people, economies, and the planet itself.