The compact, agreed by the UK, US, Canada, Japan, France, Germany and Italy, includes commitments on halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030, and tackling deforestation, marine litter and illegal wildlife trade. Green groups, however, say more detail is needed.
The summit, which was hosted by the UK at Carbis Bay in Cornwall, also saw commitments on phasing out coal, stopping the financing of fossil fuels in developing countries and providing them with financial support to adapt to climate change.
The G7 Nature Compact commits world leaders to use “all appropriate levers” to address unsustainable and illegal activities negatively impacting nature, such as through tackling deforestation by supporting sustainable supply chains, and stepping up efforts to tackle the illegal wildlife trade.
The compact also commits the seven nations to work to “dramatically increase investment in nature from all sources”, and to ensure nature is accounted for in economic and financial decision-making.
The prime minister Boris Johnson also launched the UK’s Blue Planet Fund - a £500m fund which aims to support countries to tackle unsustainable fishing, protect and restore coastal ecosystems such as mangroves and coral reefs, and reduce marine pollution.
Alongside this, the G7 agreed to supporting the target to conserve or protect at least 30% of global land and at least 30% of the global ocean by the end of the decade.
Environment secretary George Eustice pointed out that “for the first time, the G7 has committed to halting and reversing the loss of biodiversity in the next decade”.
WWF welcomed the compact, but chief executive Tanya Steele added that “now leaders must prove they can walk the talk when it comes to delivering on their promises for climate and nature by putting these paper promises into domestic law”.
Research published in May found that the UK is the worst performer among the G7 nations in terms of biodiversity levels. The latest update to the UK’s Biodiversity Indicators also showed the UK is seeing no improvement on around half of its biodiversity targets, with the international community having also failed last year to achieve any of the 20 Aichi biodiversity targets agreed in Japan in 2010 to slow the loss of the natural world.
Philip Dunne, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, welcomed the G7’s commitment to spend more on protecting nature. However, he added: “This must be done correctly, as many of our precious species are at a tipping point: we look forward to seeing the detail of the policy and delivery mechanisms designed to improve the state of nature in the UK and overseas.”
Elsewhere during the summit, Christian Aid described Boris Johson’s promise of a package to help developing countries adapt to the climate crisis as a “a partial plan not a Marshall plan”.
A communiqué issued by the G7 promised that each member would “increase and improve” their contributions towards a promise made 11 years ago for rich nations to spend $100bn (£71bn) annually helping poorer countries adapt to global warming.
But specific pledges came only from Canada, which doubled its commitment to $4.4bn (£3.1bn) over the next five years, and Germany, which promised to increase spending by €2bn to €6bn (£5.2bn) a year by 2025.
Gareth Redmond-King, from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), said: “Notably, whilst G7 leaders reaffirmed their overdue promise of $100bn a year in climate support to poorer countries, those same countries will be disappointed that they leave Cornwall with no new money apparently on the table.
“Progress at COP requires the trust of all nations; if Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson won’t reverse the UK’s own cuts in overseas development assistance, they go into the negotiations with one arm tied firmly behind their back.”
The G7 also agreed to stop subsidising new coal-fuelled power generation in developing countries from next year.
They also promised to move away from using coal plants without carbon capture technology, but failed to set a target date to achieve the goal.