Cambridge Signs UN Pledge on Reversing Biodiversity Decline at COP15



The University of Cambridge has signed a nature positive pledge as a founding member of the global Nature Positive Universities network formed in conjunction with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).


Rebuilding nature is a vital foundation for institutional sustainability and an equitable society

Mike Maunder, Executive Director of Cambridge Conservation Initiative

The Nature Positive Universities Alliance launches at the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in Montreal, Canada on Thursday 8 December with 111 universities from 44 countries, who have made individual pledges to start a journey towards becoming nature positive.

The pledge strongly aligns with Cambridge’s Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) agreed by Council in July 2020. The commitment is to start a Nature Positive journey by determining baselines and setting targets.

“Universities are crucibles where learning and research creates futures. Rebuilding nature is a vital foundation for institutional sustainability and an equitable society. The University of Cambridge by signing up to the Nature Positive University Pledge is amplifying the ambitions of the University’s Biodiversity Action Plan and paving the way for a nature positive university where nature is regenerated to the benefit of students, academics and the city as a whole. The Ecological Advisory Panel and Cambridge Conservation Initiative look forward to delivering this pledge in collaboration with other key players in the University,” Mike Maunder, Chair of the University’s Ecological Advisory Panel and Executive Director of the world-leading Cambridge Conservation Initiative said.

University pledges include four key elements:

  • Carrying out baseline biodiversity assessments
  • Setting specific, time limited and measurable targets for nature
  • Taking bold action to reduce biodiversity impacts, protect and restore species and ecosystems, while influencing others to do the same
  • Transparent annual reporting.

“I am delighted that the University of Cambridge is joining the Nature Positive University Network. Universities make a significant positive contribution to society, but it is vital that we do everything we can to mitigate the harmful unintended impacts that our activities can have on nature. Joining the Nature Positive University Network will inspire us to be more ambitious, enable us to learn from others and hold us to account,” said Professor Chris Sandbrook, Professor of Conservation and Society, Director of the Masters in Conservation Leadership.

The Nature Positive Universities Alliance is a partnership between University of Oxford, UNEP Youth & Education and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which brings higher education institutions together to use their unique power and influence as drivers of positive change.

It is a global network of universities that have made an official pledge to work towards a global Nature Positive goal in order to halt, prevent and reverse nature loss through addressing their own impacts and restoring ecosystems harmed by their activities. This push is part of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a movement to avert climate catastrophe and mass extinction.

All the founding universities announced today have pledged to assess their impacts to determine the most impactful initiatives to introduce, and to report on their progress.

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