Dubai, Nov. 30, 2023 – The following statement was issued by Monica Medina, President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society:

“The world's most vulnerable people and nature’s most fragile places are disproportionately bearing the costs of the climate crisis, a crisis driven by the world's wealthiest and the fossil fuel industry.

COP28 will be judged on whether it leads to: decarbonizing our economies more rapidly and eliminating fossil fuel subsidies; putting nature and conservation high on the agenda as a climate crisis solution; ensuring a just transition off fossil fuels and that all goals and agreements of COP28 are informed by Indigenous Peoples and local communities; and prioritizing equity by ensuring nations that have contributed least to the climate crisis receive the most in compensation.

“At WCS, we are promoting and implementing nature-positive solutions to the climate crisis—protecting high integrity ecosystems; reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation; and restoring degraded areas in our priority landscapes. We advance our work through a rights-based approach, through collaborations with Indigenous Peoples and local communities, as well as governments and partners in over 50+ countries.

“It’s our hope that at COP28 we will see stronger commitments and deeper partnerships to make common sense investments in nature.

“Nature-positive actions can provide up to 30 percent of what's needed by 2030 to keep global temperature rise below 2°C. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel; we need to reinvest in nature. This includes ensuring that loss and damage must be compensated and actively prevented going forward; the Loss and Damage Fund must be easily accessible to the communities who need it most; and The Green Climate Fund must be replenished.

“We know the climate crisis is primarily a fossil fuel crisis. COP28 in Dubai will be judged on the extent to which governments accept and commit to the science consensus that the world needs to accelerate a just transition away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy. An essential first step in that direction must be ending direct and indirect subsidies to fossil fuel industries.

“At WCS, we're doing the work on nature-positive solutions that we're well-positioned to do, and our programs are providing leadership on a number of fronts in both policy and implementation arenas. 

“Over the past century, the Wildlife Conservation Society has established long-term presence in the last wild places across the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania; built strong and trusting partnerships; and acquired a depth of knowledge that ensures effective conservation action. The climate crisis threatens that legacy and every corner of our planet.

“We call on leaders in government and the private sector to step up and provide the leadership the world needs from them to make COP28 a turning point for our planet and its people.”