As the world comes together for COP15, we send our encouragement and gratitude to all the compassionate organizations and advocates who are working tirelessly to protect the world’s biodiversity. We urge the leadership of all countries to uphold your commitments and adopt a robust post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Our descendants are counting on us. 

Biodiversity has been declining at alarming rates in the last few decades, and humanity’s efforts have fallen painfully short of preventing this devastating loss of species, genetic diversity and ecosystem health. Although the fate of biodiversity remains precarious, and its rapid loss contributes to climate change worldwide, there is still a small window of time during which we can ensure a better future. 

 Based on the Jane Goodall Institute’s decades of research and conservation efforts, we know that aside from habitat loss, wildlife trafficking has a significant negative impact on biodiversity and threatens many endangered species. These are complex issues of global dimension rooted in poverty, corruption, lack of enforcement and the increase of global demand for exotic species. Addressing illegal wildlife trafficking and its impact on biodiversity loss, public and animal health, as well as the sustainable livelihood of Indigenous and local communities, requires an updated international legal framework. 

 If we hope to halt the loss of biodiversity, there is no more time to waste as we are dangerously close to the point of no return. As delegates around the world gather in Montreal for COP15 we need to stress the urgency of the situation. The power and energy of young people is one reason that gives me hope, and this includes the tens of thousands of young people in the Jane Goodall Institute’s Roots & Shoots programme. They are already doing their part, they are already changing the world through their actions. Now I call on all world leaders at this critical time to listen to the voices of youth and to listen to the voices of Indigenous Peoples everywhere. They are telling us what we already know – we must get together and take action, now, to restore biodiversity to places we have destroyed and to protect the wilderness areas we have left. Only then can we hope for the survival of people, animals, and the environment of the planet which we call home.” – Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE

The interdependence of the health of humans, animals, and ecosystem is indisputable. Solutions must be holistic, science-based and community-centred. Around the world, the Jane Goodall Institute is tackling the intersectionality of biodiversity loss, climate change, and environmental inequity. This is achieved by integrating Indigenous knowledge, science data, and innovative technologies with locally owned decision-making processes and solutions. We work with communities to support sustainable initiatives that combat deforestation, monitor landscapes of biodiversity significance, assess potential climate change effects on natural systems, protect endangered wildlife, and take action to ensure a viable future for all life on Earth. 

These solutions must also be inclusive. The United Nation’s goal of living in harmony with nature by 2050 is an admirable one, but will only be possible if Indigenous and community-centred approaches are adequately financed and mainstreamed into policies and practices at all levels. We must include eliminating environmental inequity, applying a human rights-based approach to conservation, as well as supporting and amplifying the efforts of Indigenous Peoples, who protect 80% of the world’s biodiversity on their territories. 

Beginning with the earliest years of Dr. Goodall’s ground-breaking chimpanzee research and conservation work in Gombe, it has always been clear that biodiversity is best protected when we act in the interests of both endangered species and the human populations who rely on the same ecosystems for their survival. Globally, the Jane Goodall Institute has chapters in 25 countries dedicated to tackling the most pressing biodiversity challenges we are facing. Our youth-led Roots & Shoots programme highlights the intergenerational inequity, as children and young people today will be most impacted by the devastating effects of climate change and biodiversity loss in the future if we fail to act now. 

The Jane Goodall Institute supports the target of conserving 30% of terrestrial and marine areas of biodiversity importance by 2030, while calling on decision-makers to be courageous in setting evidence-based indicators and a clear road map to reach these ambitious targets that centers the voices of Indigenous Peoples and youth, by intentionally creating meaningful space for their leadership and engagement. 

Endorsed by the Jane Goodall Institute Global, representing 25 JGI chapters worldwide, December 9, 2022. 

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