On Friday, November 22, 2019 during an Aspen Ministers Forum convened in Vienna, Austria by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, the Aspen High Seas Initiative (AHSI) presented a special session on the accelerating global biodiversity crisis and urgent need to strengthen targets for conservation of marine biodiversity in particular. At this session, the ministers discussed a joint statement to be released in early 2020 in support of an ambitious new target of protecting 30 percent of the planet by 2030.
Following opening remarks by Ingrid Irigoyen, AHSI Deputy Director, and Dr. Susan Lieberman, Vice President of International Policy for the Wildlife Conservation Society, Secretary Albright facilitated discussion among 14 former foreign ministers from around the world about the 30 percent by 2030 target at the next conference of the parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Kunming, China that will be held in October 2020.
The ministers acknowledged the essential role of national governments in protecting areas of high biodiversity in waters that comprise their exclusive economic zones. However, because nearly 70 percent of the global ocean lies beyond the jurisdiction of any one nation, the AHSI experts briefed the Ministers on the need to also protect areas of the High Seas in order to achieve the 30 percent global target.
The ministers closed by identifying additional steps they can take to support the global effort to bolster global biodiversity conservation efforts being organized by a number of organizations around the world, including the Aspen High Seas Initiative, Campaign For Nature, Wildlife Conservation Society, and the Pew Charitable Trusts.