Minister Ley Speech at COP-15 CBD - Putting biodiversity on a path to recovery

14 October 2021

Thank you to the Honourable Co-Chairs for convening this High Level Segment as part of the 15th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity.

As one of only seventeen ‘megadiverse’ countries in the world, Australia understands the value of biodiversity. Our Australian plants, animals and landscapes are unique and distinct. They are core to our identity, important to the health of our environment, and a strong contributor to our economy. 

Protected areas – including the 30by30 target, Indigenous Protected Areas and Marine Parks

As a member of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People and the Global Ocean Alliance, Australia would like to highlight our support for the protection of 30 per cent of the world’s land and 30 per cent of the world’s ocean by 2030. We support the focus in this target on areas important for biodiversity and through a combination of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures. 

We are establishing two new Australian Marine Parks, around the waters of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. This will lift the percentage of protected Australian waters up from 37 to 45 per cent - over 4 million square kilometres.

Our Indigenous Protected Areas program is a core component of our protected area network. Australia currently has 78 dedicated IPAs over 78 million hectares of land and sea. We have recently funded seven new IPA projects, expected to add 3.7 million hectares of land and sea into the care of Traditional Owners for biodiversity conservation.

As many of you know, Australia was impacted by devasting bushfires nearly two years ago. The scale and severity of these bushfires had a devastating impact on our precious native wildlife and heritage places. In response, the Australian Government committed $200 million to support recovery efforts. This investment has supported critical on-ground activities, including over 3 million hectares of invasive pest control, as well as 14,000 hectares of weed control across bushfire-affected regions. 

Our response has also supported one of Australia’s most iconic species, the Koala. We have invested in Koala habitat restoration, health research and wildlife care training, to ensure a strong recovery pathway for the koala. 

Australia is moving to a circular economy. The Australian Government is driving a $1 billion transformation through our National Waste Policy that will see more than 10 million tonnes of waste diverted from landfill, while reducing the impact of plastic and packaging on the environment. But no single nation can solve the plastic problem alone. That is why Australia has joined others in calling for improved global action on marine plastic litter through a new global agreement. 

I am confident that, together, we can deliver an ambitious new global biodiversity framework and put nature on the path to recovery and safeguard our irreplaceable biodiversity for generations to come.