Guianas’ Leaders Pledge for Nature Comes at the Right Time

Posted on
05 June 2021

WWF applauds the governments of Guyana and Suriname as the latest signatories to the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature on World Environment Day. The Leaders Pledge unites the global community to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030. Through their endorsement, Guyana and Suriname – the larger part of the Guianas region - join more than 85 countries and the EU to step up global ambition for biodiversity and commit to matching the collective ambition for nature, climate and people, with the scale on the crisis before us. The Leaders’ Pledge for Nature has been signed by president Irfaan Ali of Guyana and president Chan Santokhi of Suriname. Today, WWF also is co-launching the international campaign ‘The Race is On’ in which businesses, civil society, scientists and the United Nations call on leaders around the globe to sign the Leaders Pledge.

Guyana and Suriname are two small developing countries that bestraddle South America and the Caribbean, facing the reality of a future threatened by rising sea levels and extreme weather events created by climate change. However, with their vast per capita intact ecosystems, their contribution to securing the world’s natural capital and fight against climate change, far exceeds their own ecological consumption. The decisions they make are deeply rooted in choices to address poverty and human inequality, and climate change.
“While Guyana and Suriname face tough choices for their economic recovery, the pledge for Nature is an important signal that the countries are maintaining their commitment towards a just, inclusive, and sustainable future”, David Singh, director of WWF-Guianas said. “We are mindful that both countries have embraced offshore oil and gas development at a time when the global community has finally united to transition away from fossil fuels. But the endorsement of the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature is one step towards signalling to the global community that it has not given up on its green credentials. The Guianas can still be a ‘Beacon of Hope’ for the World in this time of planetary emergency.”
Gavin Edwards, Global Coordinator, New Deal for Nature and People, WWF International: "We welcome the leadership and commitment of the governments of Suriname and Guyana in endorsing the Leaders Pledge for Nature. With more than 85 governments now committed to reversing the loss of nature within this decade, the race is on to translate this pledge into action to secure a nature-positive world. That begins with a commitment from governments to set and begin implementing a range of conservation targets – to protect and conserves places and species and tackle the drivers of nature loss, while ensuring the free prior informed consent of indigenous peoples and local communities – at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity’s CoP 15 negotiation this October in Kunming, China."
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF Global Lead Climate & Energy said: “The engagement of political leaders on the twin crises of nature and climate is paramount in this crunch year for global decisions on these issues. Without the support of the highest decision-makers in each country, we will not achieve the sustainable future we need. By this action, Suriname and Guyana are showing real leadership on nature. Their efforts will, no doubt, add to the momentum for a successful outcome at the Convention on Biological Diversity COP15 later this year.”
Ross Denny - Acting British High Commissioner to Guyana and Chargé d'affaires (non-resident) to Suriname said: “By signing The Leaders’ Pledge for Nature both Guyana and Suriname are demonstrating their strong environmental credentials and commitment towards the more sustainable development pathways we need. The UK is committed to taking bold action to tackle biodiversity loss and put nature on a path to recovery and is a founding member of The Leaders’ Pledge for Nature. We are committed to working with our fellow signatories, including Guyana and Suriname, to ensure that the Pledge commitments translate into sustained, transformative global action on the ground.”