Former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold plans to promote global biodiversity by persuading countries to commit to protecting more of their land and water by the year 2030.
Feingold, a Democrat, said he will work with the Campaign for Nature, a $1 billion effort to back global conservation efforts, to persuade international leaders to promote conservation and thwart mass extinction.
Feingold, who has served as special envoy to the Great Lakes region of Africa — which includes Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and some of the Democratic Republic of Congo — will, in his new role, work with African leaders who have an interest in expanding protected areas of land and water.
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“There’s a feeling of urgency,” Feingold said, adding that threats to biodiversity can be as troubling as those of climate change.
The Campaign for Nature seeks to help communities, indigenous peoples and nations conserve 30% of the planet in its natural state by 2030.
In 2020, international groups will meet in China at the Convention on Biological Diversity to set the new targets. Current biodiversity goals are to protect 17% of each country’s terrestrial area and 10% of each country’s ocean waters.
Feingold said the campaign hopes more countries will sign onto the 30% target.