I am honoured to bring greetings to you from Nigeria and from the President of my country, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR, a nature champion leading Nigeria in the path of sustainable use of our natural resources and heightened attention to nature based solutions to address climate change. As we gather to highlight progress made towards protecting and conserving at least 30% of the world’s lands and oceans to help deliver on our Paris Agreement Goal, Nigeria reiterates her commitment to work with the global community to achieve the 1.5 degree climate target.

2.The African continent is more vulnerable to climate change than any other. It is clear that there is inequity in the ways countries are impacted by the biodiversity crisis. In West Africa, and in my country, a lack of solutions means that our communities become poorer, our food security is jeopardized, and our rural populations are forced to relocate,  resulting in loss of livelihoods,  security challenges,  and sadly a lot of times, loss of lives. This scenario is not obtainable everywhere.

3.The vision of Nigeria and the rest of Africa is to ensure that the World truly unites and responds as one. Because Africa will be the most affected by climate change, we are united in being the most ambitious in protecting our lands and our seas.

4.In the ECOWAS region alone, ECOWAS countries have reached a consensus to support the ambitious target of protecting 30% of our lands and oceans by 2030 which is evident by the 14 Member State having joined the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People. Nigeria as a member of HAC is mobilizing ECOWAS countries to launch a regional coordination process to map out our joint contribution to 30 by 30. And just 2 week ago, ECOWAS countries met in Abuja, Nigeria, and agreed on a pathway to promptly ratify the newly adopted high-seas treaty to facilitate the designation of highly and fully protected areas in the global ocean beyond national jurisdiction. For Nigeria this is an essential and urgent step, and we invite all of you to ratify this treaty promptly.

5.But this, ladies and gentlemen, is only part of the solution and we must unite to ensure that our call for ambition for the expansion of protected areas is matched with equal ambition on finance, on halting human-induced extinction of wild species, on mutual accountability to halt forest loss and degradation, on securing species recovery and the restoration of jeopardized ecosystems. We must also ensure that we are fully prepared to keep each other accountable in the implementation of global commitments.

6.We know that in order to address biodiversity loss we will need to increase our investment in nature protection between 500 and 900 billion USD per year.

7. In Montreal, a commitment was made to deliver at least 20 billion USD per year in international biodiversity finance to developing countries by 2025. This is a modest step in the right direction and we must urgently set up accountability mechanisms to track investments from developed to developing countries, in order to secure the achievement of these nature finance targets.

8.I am very pleased to announce that Nigeria is launching a Ministerial Alliance for Nature Finance alongside Liberia, Samoa and Sierra Leone. As part of the biodiversity-rich countries from the Global South, we are uniting to champion

the importance of meeting the biodiversity financing target that the World agreed to last year at COP15. The goal of this Alliance is to promote ambition on biodiversity finance and mutual accountability in delivering the 20 billion USD per year by 2025 – a pledge made to developing countries.

9.To be clear, this commitment to international biodiversity finance is not charity. It is a promise that must be kept and one of many investments that is required to help achieve global nature and climate goals, sustainable economic development, social stability and geopolitical security.

10. The countries that are best positioned to make this investment are those that have benefited economically the most from practices that have negatively impacted the state of biodiversity inside and outside of their borders. Delivering on the $20 billion per year pledge by 2025 or sooner is crucial for the success of our shared ambitions and will play an instrumental role in unlocking resources domestically.

11. Through the Ministerial Alliance for Nature Finance we will not only work to hold Parties accountable to this $20 billion promise to nature, but we will highlight the actions that we are taking domestically to do our part in helping to close the biodiversity finance gap.

12.Over half of the global GDP relies on rich biodiversity and healthy ecosystems. If we want to preserve the global economy, we must invest in protected areas just as we would invest in anything else that would provide an enormous return long into the future.

13. Join the Ministerial Alliance for Nature Finance now as a commitment to meeting the nature finance goals essential to the implementation of 30 by 30.

14. There is no time to wait – let us act now, together, for nature.

15. I thank you all for your kind attention and wish you safe trip back as we begin to round up with COP28.

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