On May 26, 2020 over 30 local, state, and national organizations and leaders sent a letter (Joint Call for California to Be a Global Biodiversity Leader with the Convention on Biological Diversity) to Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot calling for California to be a global champion for nature and participate in the United Nations’ biodiversity treaty. Called the Convention on Biological Diversity or CBD, the United States never joined this treaty, a crucial instrument for protecting nature worldwide. If California becomes a treaty Observer, it will be the first state in America to do so. California will send a message to the nation and the world that we can’t afford to sit out global discussions even as we suffer from disasters, like the Covid-19 pandemic, that are linked to harms to ecosystems and make it clear that human health and the health of nature are inextricably connected.
In January, Assemblymember Laura Friedman of District 43, Chair of the Assembly’s Natural Resources Committee, asked Secretary Crowfoot to pursue becoming both an Observer and member of the CBD’s Advisory Committee of Subnational Governments and Biodiversity. Recognizing the power of California’s leadership in global forums, Friedman states that as a global biodiversity hotspot, “California now has the opportunity to show the world that people in the US are invested in working together to combat biodiversity loss through participation in the Convention on Biological Diversity.”
In recent years, California has played an increasingly prominent role on the global stage, participating in the last several United Nations Climate Changes Conferences (COP).
The 35 organizations and leaders calling for action support California’s biodiversity leadership at the global level. They include statewide organizations like the California League of Conservation Voters, regional organizations like Friends of the Los Angeles River, national organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council, and organizations working internationally like the Rainforest Action Network. Civic leaders like West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tempore John Heilman and Los Angeles District 4 City Councilmember David Ryu also signed the letter. The City of Los Angeles went a step further and recently passed a Resolution asking that the state’s 2019-2020 Legislative Program include support for California participating in the CBD.