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Elizabeth Maruma Mrema
UN Convention on Biological Diversity, Canada

Remarks by the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema

According to the recently published: Global Biodiversity Outlook 5, governments failed to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, agreed in 2010. This failure risks the continued and accelerated loss of the variety of life on Earth. Nevertheless the dire news, reports provided by the world’s governments, as well as other sources of evidence, reveal examples of progress which, if scaled up, could support the transformative changes necessary to achieve the 2050 vision of living in harmony with nature by 2050.

A number of transitions pointing the way to the type of changes required are already in evidence, albeit in limited areas of activity. Examining how such incipient transitions can be replicated and built on, will be critical to using the short window available to make the collective vision of living in harmony with nature a reality.

Options are available to the global community that could simultaneously halt and ultimately reverse biodiversity loss, limit climate change and improve the capacity to adapt to it and meet other goals such as improved food security.

These pathways to a sustainable future rely on recognizing that bold, interdependent actions are needed across a number of fronts, each of which is necessary and none of which is sufficient on its own.

This mix of actions includes greatly stepping up efforts to conserve and restore biodiversity, addressing climate change in ways that limit global temperature rise without imposing unintended additional pressures on biodiversity, and transforming the way in which we produce, consume and trade goods and services, most particularly food, that rely on and have an impact on biodiversity.

Solutions need to seek an integrated approach that simultaneously address the conservation of the planet’s genetic diversity, species and ecosystems, the capacity of nature to deliver material benefits to human societies, and the less tangible but highly-valued connections with nature that help to define our identities, cultures and beliefs.

Biography

Ms. Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, is the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Ms. Mrema has worked with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) for over two decades and was the Director of the Law Division at UNEP which is also responsible for international environmental governance as well as multilateral environmental agreements. Prior to joining the Law Division in June 2014, she was Deputy Director of the Ecosystems Division, in charge of coordination, operations and programme delivery from 2012 and for one year also served as Acting Director to the same Division. In 2018, she was also the Acting Director of the Corporate Services Division. Prior to these duties, she also served as Executive Secretary of the UNEP/Secretariat of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) from 2009-2012. Ms. Mrema’s work at UNEP has focused on development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws including multilateral environmental agreements at national, regional and international levels, among others. Her various roles over the years include being coordinator of capacity-building and compliance and enforcement projects related to environmental law and the multilateral environmental conventions.