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In March 2022, we participated in a meeting of 30 of the world's geographical societies ahead of COP15 – the next major meeting of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.
The Society – in collaboration with the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS), International Geographical Union (IGU) and Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS) – devised the meeting as an opportunity to explore what geographers can do, individually and collectively, to address the biodiversity crisis.
In her foreword to the joint report from the event, Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, said: “Geographical societies worldwide can play a huge role in facilitating conservation and sustainable use by inspiring and informing people, and by helping provide solutions to complex issues using geographical knowledge.”
Featuring provocations from prominent geographers, staff from geographical societies and environmental NGOs, the meeting identified four key actions for geographical societies in the run-up to COP15, which will take place in Montreal in December 2022:
Develop online courses for the SDGs
Geographers are uniquely positioned to provide the programmes and resources to help people on this journey, so a key recommendation at this gathering was that our societies and institutions should work towards creating a full suite of 17 online courses tackling each of the SDGs.
Consider signing the declaration in support of the ecocide law campaign
We are inviting all geographical societies and institutions to add their names to a declaration of support for the ecocide law campaign, to be published jointly ahead of the next meeting of COP15.
We urgently need to start costing the damage we are doing to nature, and must consider how geographers can help illuminate this principle of valuing nature.
Encourage action ahead of COP15
Encouraging geographers to use the full range of their influence to generate as much publicity, urgency, and energy around biodiversity as possible ahead of COP15.
Read the full report, including six additional themes for COP15 based on the discussions at the meeting.