At COP27, Razan Al Mubarak Champions Nature-based Solutions

At the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP27, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, IUCN President Razan Al Mubarak joined world leaders in launching a new global initiative that will drive the implementation of proven solutions that effectively harness nature to address climate adaptation and mitigation. 

On Biodiversity Day at COP27 (16 November), Ms. Al Mubarak, UK High Level Climate Champion Nigel Topping, Egypt’s Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad, and other leaders unveiled the ENACT initiative, which will coordinate global efforts to address climate change, land and ecosystem degradation, and biodiversity loss through Nature-based Solutions (NbS). This initiative will drive the adoption of NbS on a global scale, and track progress via an annual report delivered at future COPs. 

Ms Al Mubarak said: "The biodiversity and climate crises are closely connected, and Nature-based Solutions offer an effective way to address both of these crises at the same time. We made significant progress at COP27 in advancing the adoption of Nature-based Solutions, and these efforts were further boosted by the launch of ENACT, which help us accelerate meaningful integrated climate-biodiversity action worldwide.” 

During COP27, Ms. Al Mubarak also spoke at two major events focused on the critical link between the ocean, climate and biodiversity. 

The first event focused on highlighting progress on the Great Blue Wall initiative, a first-of-its-kind network of countries in the Western Indian Ocean region focused on conserving and restoring “seascapes” that help biodiversity recover while also providing sustainable incomes and helping to shelter communities from the impacts of climate change.  

Ms. Al Mubarak said: “The Western Indian Ocean region is feeling the impacts of climate change most acutely. It is inspiring to see leaders from this region standing up to the challenge, empowering local communities to create the Great Blue Wall together, become stewards of their local ecosystems and show a path towards a nature-positive future that the rest of the world can follow.”

At the Ocean Innovators Platform, hosted by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Ms. Al Mubarak highlighted the importance of oceans:

“The Ocean is at the crossroads of all major challenges facing humanity today, and climate change and biodiversity loss are no exception. We must invest more in the Ocean - Our Blue Heart – as key to our sustainable world.”

Razan Al Mubarak Calls for Responsible Development in the Critical Mineral Sector at this Year's Paris Peace Forum

Speaking at the 5th Paris Peace Forum, Razan Al Mubarak highlighted the environmental paradox that the world now faces as more countries fight climate change by shifting toward green technologies, which are reliant on critical minerals. Ms. Al Mubarak spoke during the panel session, “Acting together for a responsible critical minerals sector,” which included the introduction of a new initiative that will enable an ecological transition to green technologies by ensuring that global supply chains for critical minerals function responsibly.

The move from fossil fuels to green technology in the race toward net zero is increasing demand for copper, lithium, cobalt, nickel, and rare earth minerals to develop things like electric vehicles, renewable energies, and battery storage. Demand for these minerals is expected to increase fourfold by 2030.

“Of course, we know there are consequences for this demand,” Ms. Al Mubarak said. “All of these materials are extracted, many times in areas that are extremely ecologically vulnerable as well as socially vulnerable.”  

Ms. Al Mubarak highlighted the issue's complexity, urging leaders not to forget about nature and people in the race toward net zero: 

“When we talk about critical minerals, it’s really important that we speak about them within three significant mindsets. It’s not just to address the issue of climate change, but we must also understand it in the context of nature and biodiversity, and then thirdly, in terms of people. If we are not careful, we could end up addressing the issue of climate change but at the cost of destroying nature—our very framework of human life—but also at the cost of local communities who are sitting on this incredible resource.”

Each year, the Paris Peace Forum brings together several hundred renowned speakers and moderators from around the world. This year’s theme was “Riding out the Multicrisis,” and the two-day event focused on the multi-faceted challenge that the world now faces with worsening climate change, successive COVID-19 waves, deepening inequalities, and new geopolitical conflicts.

Ms. Al Mubarak was joined by Philippe Varin, chairman of the World Materials Forum and vice president of the International Chamber of Commerce; Justin Vaïsse, founder and director general of the Paris Peace Forum; Shunichi Miyanaga, chairman of the board of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.; Stacy Hope, managing director of Women in Mining (WIM) UK, and chairperson of the advisory board of the Fair Cobalt Alliance (FCA); and Julia Reinaud, Europe senior director for Breakthrough Energy.

Watch the full panel discussion here.