World leaders have unveiled a 10-step plan to tackle climate change and put a green economy at the heart of the post Covid-19 recovery.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canada’s Justin Trudeau and New Zealand's Jacinda Ardern are among the 64 leaders from across the world to adopt the plan.
They said the planet was in a climate crisis and in desperate need of meaningful action to arrest its destruction.
The Leaders’ Pledge for Nature is to be launched in New York on Monday as part of the UN General Assembly.
The annual summit has this year been held online for the first time because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The impact of Covid-19 and the need for a united response to climate change have been at the heart of the 75th General Assembly.
On Wednesday the UN will also hold a major biodiversity summit.
The signatories to the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature, from across five continents, said they would put issues including deforestation, pollution and the destruction of wildlife at the centre of the Covid-19 recovery.
“Science clearly shows that biodiversity loss, land and ocean degradation, pollution, resource depletion and climate change are accelerating at an unprecedented rate,” a statement by the leaders says.
“This acceleration is causing irreversible harm to our life-support systems and aggravating poverty and inequalities, as well as hunger and malnutrition.”
They say success has been made in some areas and ambitious targets have been agreed to in the past, but a “transformative change is needed”.
“We cannot simply carry on as before,” they say.
Mr Johnson, who is to address the event, has promised to protect 30 per cent of the UK's land by 2030 under government plans to support the recovery of natural areas.
Mr Johnson’s commitment will mean another 400,000 hectares of land in England is protected in the next decade.
He will urge countries to act now to reverse devastating biodiversity loss and prevent more species from becoming extinct.
There has been a 68 per cent decline in global wildlife populations since 1970.