UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday called on the international community to "build a shared future for all life."
"Biodiversity is essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, ending the existential threat of climate change, halting land degradation, building food security and supporting advances in human health," Guterres said in a statement for International Day for Biological Diversity, which falls on May 22 annually.
The top UN official warned that three-quarters of land and 66 percent of the marine environment have been significantly altered by human actions, urging an end to the "senseless and destructive war against nature."
The secretary-general said that biodiversity offers solutions for green and inclusive growth. This year governments will meet to agree on a global biodiversity framework with clear and measurable targets to put the planet on the path of recovery by 2030.
"The framework must tackle the drivers of biodiversity loss and enable the ambitious and transformative change needed for living in harmony with nature by effectively protecting more of the world's land, freshwater and oceans, encouraging sustainable consumption and production, employing nature-based solutions to address climate change and ending harmful subsidies that damage the environment," he said.
Guterres added that the global agreement should also mobilize financial resources to drive concrete nature-positive investments, ensuring that "we all benefit from the dividends of biological diversity."
"As we accomplish these goals and implement the 2050 vision for 'living in harmony with nature,' we must act with respect for equity and human rights, particularly regarding the many indigenous populations whose territories harbor so much biological diversity," he emphasized.
The UN chief said that everyone needs to be engaged to save the planet's indispensable and fragile natural wealth, including young people and vulnerable populations who rely the most on nature for their livelihoods.
The United Nations launched International Day for Biological Diversity to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.