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Global Commons Alliance to help tackle threats to health of the planet

June 6, 2019

Speaking at the opening of the Ecosperity 2019 conference in Singapore today, Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) acknowledged “the extremely worrying picture” coming from science about the state of the planet, and highlighted a new Global Commons Alliance that is being set-up to help tackle the problem. Photo: Vadim Sadovski/Shutterstock.
Speaking at the opening of the Ecosperity 2019 conference in Singapore today, Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) acknowledged “the extremely worrying picture” coming from science about the state of the planet, and highlighted a new Global Commons Alliance that is being set-up to help tackle the problem. Photo: Vadim Sadovski/Shutterstock.

New international network aims to transform economic systems for the benefit of society and to sustain the natural systems of Earth

SINGAPORE, June 6, 2019 – All life on Earth depends on clean air and water, biodiversity, healthy land and oceans, and a stable climate. These are the global commons: the shared resources that ensure a habitable planet upon which we can all thrive.

Today, they are facing an all-too familiar tragedy of over-exploitation and rapid degradation. Recent scientific reports, including the UN IPCC special report on global warming of 1.5°C and last month’s stark assessment on the state of the world’s biodiversity sent a clear message about what we stand to lose if we don’t act now.

Speaking at the opening of the Ecosperity 2019 conference in Singapore today, Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) acknowledged “the extremely worrying picture” coming from science about the state of the planet, and highlighted a new Global Commons Alliance that is being set-up to help tackle the problem.

 “We have pushed our Earth systems to a tipping point,” Ishii said. “If we don’t change the path we’re on we will destroy the stable conditions that are the very foundations for our economies and societies.”

Calling for a “fundamental transformation” of our food, city, energy, and production and consumption systems, she stressed two things “we must do.” 

First, start using science to measure our impact on the global commons, and set targets to reduce the impact,” she said. “Second, we must foster collective action. Only by working together to achieve the same goal of sharing our common resource do we have a chance.”

“This is why a group of like-minded organization have come together to set-up the Global Commons Alliance,” Ishii continued“I encourage all of you to join us, and to help get the world back on track!”

Naoko Ishii’s speech followed a presentation by Dr. Will Steffen, Emeritus Professor, Australian National University and Senior Fellow, Stockholm Resilience Centre.

Recent evidence clearly shows that the integrity of Earth's biosphere, on which we depend for critical services, is deteriorating more rapidly than ever,” Steffen said. “Extinction rates are already today well above background levels and are projected to accelerate."

"The increasing erosion of the biosphere, coupled with a rapidly destabilising climate system, is threatening our health and well-being, our security and our economies,” he continued.  “If these trends are not rapidly halted and reversed, our children and grandchildren face a bleak future."

The Global Commons Alliance will be comprised of four parts:

The Earth Commission - A select team of scientists to synthesize the latest research, anticipate tipping points and assess the limits of the entire Earth system.

Science Based Targets Network - A group of international NGOs to turn the science into practical applications for companies and cities to set goals for operating within Earth’s limits.

Systems Change - Building new coalitions and partnerships to green our cities and transform economic systems to achieve long term sustainability.

Earth HQ - A media portal for the planet, to connect people across the globe and share the big picture of how all Earth systems are performing and tracking progress towards solutions.

See http://globalcommonsalliance.org/ for more information.

Some of the organizations collaborating on this initiative include: Circle of Blue, Conservation International, Future Earth, Globaïa, GEF, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Stockholm Resilience Centre, We Mean Business Coalition, World Economic Forum, and the World Resources Institute.

The Ecosperity 2019 conference, organized by Temasek, is themed "Tomorrow Starts Today: From Ambition to Action."

It is focusing on business approaches and successful collaboration models to accelerate the pace of change, and to bring about scalable solutions that enable the transition to a low-carbon and resource-efficient future.

The conference is part of Ecosperity Week which brings together 2,000 global business leaders, policymakers, investors, entrepreneurs and academia to drive action on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Taking place from 4 to 7 June 2019 at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre at Marina Bay Sands, the week-long programme features an innovation showcase, conferences, roundtable discussions, pitch sessions, sites visits and networking opportunities across events.

As part of Ecosperity Week, the Global Commons Alliance partnered with the Stewardship Asia Centre on the inaugural Stewardship Commons event. The event convened a business community session to encourage the positive transformation of global economic systems needed to safeguard our global commons, through the introduction of science-based targets for companies and cities. The session hosted distinguished global thought leaders and key practitioners who together defined what it means to do enough to ensure our planet remains habitable for future generations. 

Watch a livestream of the conference here.