In the run up to the globe's most important meeting on climate change, the #CIWEMtalksCOP26 series asks thought leaders from the water and environmental industry and beyond to answer a common question: what do you most want COP26 to deliver? Here we'll be serialising their answers.

Rebecca Wrigley is Chief Executive of Rewilding Britain.

"Politicians at COP26 need to step up and ensure meaningful and long-overdue action to reduce carbon emissions dramatically while removing carbon from the atmosphere.

"They need to offer some much-needed hope for tackling the overlapping climate, nature and health crises that are outpacing us all.

"We know nature is our life support system, our best carbon sink, and our ally in mitigating the impacts of climate breakdown.

"And we know nature is at risk. Ecosystems worldwide are being destroyed, with species in freefall. Here in Britain we are ranked 189 out of 218 countries for the state of nature.

"So for COP26, I want to see the UK Government and devolved administrations truly seizing the opportunities offered by rewilding – the large-scale restoration of nature.

"That includes delivering on our call for wilder national parks – with rewilding of public land across 10 per cent of these precious but nature-depleted places, and nature recovery across another 50 per cent. This key step can be achieved by restoring peatlands, moorlands, woods, rivers, coastal areas and seas, and no loss of productive farmland.

"Without such action, the Prime Minister’s promise to protect 30 per cent of Britain’s land by 2030 will remain hollow.

"Another hugely positive action would be for the Scottish Government to declare Scotland the world’s first Rewilding Nation – with a commitment to rewilding 30 per cent of its land and sea within a decade – in line with the call from the Scottish Rewilding Alliance.

"As shown by members of our Rewilding Network, rewilding can restore life to our landscapes and seas, while tackling climate breakdown. It offers benefits to our health and wellbeing, and new opportunities for local communities and economies.

"It’s past time to reboot our relationship with the natural world, and to start working with nature instead of against it."

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Connect with Rebecca

Rebecca Wrigley is Chief Executive or Rewilding Britain.

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