President of Russia Vladimir Putin: President Xi Jinping, Mr Guterres, ladies and gentlemen,
Greetings to the participants of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.
This convention was adopted almost 30 years ago and it remains a key universal instrument of international law that unites countries and multilateral organisations in their efforts to conserve nature and to promote the sustainable use of our planet’s resources.
These goals are more relevant than ever before, because we can see how human activities and the rapid development of technology, industry and agriculture, unfortunately, often negatively affect the environment and climate.
In this regard, I would like to express my gratitude to our Chinese friends and personally to President Xi Jinping for their support of efforts to step up international cooperation in the sphere of conservation. In turn, we are committed to working together with all stakeholders in order to preserve our common habitat.
And, of course, we are grateful to our Chinese colleagues and the Secretariat of the Convention for hosting this meeting of the Conference, which is going by the name “Ecological Civilisation: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth.”
This conference provides a good opportunity to exchange views on how to maximise the harmonious coexistence of humans and nature, to most effectively mobilise the efforts of the international community to protect biodiversity and to promote the sustainable use of natural resources, as well as to define the goals and modalities of international cooperation in these areas.
I would like to take this opportunity to point out that Russia has a unique and abundant supply of natural resources for supporting life on the planet, and biodiversity conservation is an absolute priority for us. We try to approach it responsibly, consistently and systematically. Moreover, state institutions, businesses and civil society have partnered on this work.
A comprehensive sustainable development strategy is being implemented in our country, whose framework includes significant attention to the environmental agenda, protecting and growing the numbers of rare and endangered animals and plants, as well as further strengthening specially protected natural areas. At the federal level alone, there are 109 nature reserves, 64 national parks and 62 sanctuaries. In all, including regional and local specially protected natural areas and other forms of protection, over 25 percent of land in Russia is now protected under environmental law, which, believe me, is truly vast. In addition, we are going to create at least 23 new protected natural areas by 2024.
Protection of rare animal and plant species is guaranteed at the state level in our country. The measures taken to this end are yielding tangible results. In particular, the populations of Central Asian and Far Eastern leopards, snow leopards, saiga antelopes, polar bears, bison, birds of the falcon family and, of course, the Amur tiger have also grown. And we will continue these efforts, including in coordination with our foreign partners.
In this context, I want to point out the fact that we plan to hold the Second International Forum on the Conservation of the Tiger Population in September 2022. This forum will take place as part of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. We look forward to the participation of representatives from all countries where these rare predators are found.
I would be remiss not to mention that thanks to the tremendous absorptive capacity of our forests, our country is making a major contribution to addressing global environmental and climate problems and helping to preserve biodiversity. As you may be aware, Russia accounts for 20 percent of the world's forest reserves. And we will continue to improve the quality of forest management and take additional steps to combat wildfires and restore forests.
The very fact that this conference exists clearly shows that nature conservation cannot be successfully addressed by any country alone. This must be taken up by all countries, without exaggeration, by all humankind.
We fully support the idea of pursuing closer international cooperation on all pressing issues related to protecting flora and fauna, the atmosphere and water resources. This cooperation must be carried out on the basis of generally accepted scientific data, a clearly defined and comprehensive legal framework, and with respect for state sovereignty over natural resources and economic activities. Of course, it is important to be mindful of national priorities and the specifics of each country, as well as to focus on the needs of the developing world, including the least developed countries.
The post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework is currently being negotiated. Russian experts are taking part in this work. We want the programme to include specific ideas and proposals regarding biodiversity protection and to help restore global environmental balance.
I would like to close by expressing confidence that this meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity will be productive and effective and, most importantly, promote constructive cooperation between the countries participating in the Convention.