It’s time for NSW to get moving on protecting nature  

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The National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) welcomes today’s announced adoption of the UN’s Global Biodiversity Framework and urges the NSW Government to get moving on creating new national parks. 

Environment Minister’s decision to protect priority habitat for threatened species welcomed

National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) applauds the Environment Minister, Tanya Plibersek’s decision to create an Action Plan that will protect the habitat for threatened species and its renewed commitment to conserve a minimum of 30% of our land and sea by 2030.

The ‘30 by 30’ enironmental commitment: economic costs and benefits

Dr Ross Jeffree, NPA State Councillor

Both the current and previous Federal governments have made verbal commitments to ’30 by 30’: the effective protection and conservation of at least 30% of the planet by 2030. This national commitment is in accord with international scientific consensus that 30% is a minimum target for land, sea and freshwater to protect and conserve key biodiversity values; including species at risk, high-biodiversity areas, key migration sites, spawning areas, and ecologically intact areas which protect large-scale ecological processes. (Adding in climate refugia and areas of high carbon density increases the area required to over 50%.)

Achieving effective protection and conservation of at least 30% of the planet by 2030 is also a critical step toward achieving the CBD’s (Convention on Biological Diversity) 2050 Vision of Living in Harmony with Nature, as well as post-2020 ambitions for biodiversity. IUCN has already adopted a resolution in 2016 that calls on IUCN State Members to designate at least 30% of each marine habitat in a network of highly protected marine protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs; also referred to here as “conserved areas”).

The Challenge of 30 by 30

Ross McDonnell, Convenor, NPA Landscape Conservation Forum

The NPA’s Landscape Conservation Forum (LCF) recognises the challenge ahead for NSW if it is to make an equitable contribution to the evolving Commonwealth Government policy of achieving ’30 by 30’. Articles in this Journal by WWF’s Dr Stuart Blanch and NPA’s Dr Ross Jeffree focus on the National Reserve System and the supporting economic context, but a considerable challenge exists on how NSW develops and implements a suitable response.

Broadly speaking, it will come down to what types of protection and management measures will be counted as contributing to a 30% target, and will there be a coordinated NSW approach?

For NPA a consideration is how does it focus its advocacy role in support of ’30 by 30’. The LCF, in considering this, has focused on promoting a broadening of the IUCN’s protected area classifications to include areas (land and waters) where the rehabilitation and restoration of natural values is required. The ’30 by 30’ target can also be legitimately met if it includes appropriately managed Crown Lands such as travelling stock routes, road reserves or verges with known natural values, and Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs). In addition, a significant contribution would occur if NSW followed Victoria and Western Australia and ceased forestry in native forests and those areas were transferred to NPWS management.

30 x 30:  a pathway to protecting 30% of Australia’s land by 2030

By Dr Stuart Blanch, Senior Manager, Towards Two Billion Trees, WWF-Australia

The promise of protecting 30% of Australia’s land by 2030

“Our government will set a goal of protecting 30% of our land and 30% of our oceans by 2030,” said the Hon Tania Plibersek MP, Minister for the Environment and Water, during her National Press Club speech on 19 July 2022.