The UK will spend at least £3bn of international climate finance on nature and biodiversity over five years, the Prime Minister has said.
Boris Johnson made the announcement in a virtual address to the One Planet Summit for biodiversity in Paris.
The PM said the investment was needed to protect nature, including marine life, forests and sustainable food production.
Prince Charles has also spoken at the event.
In his address, Mr Johnson said humanity is destroying species and habitats at “an absolutely unconscionable rate”.
He said the £3bn, which forms part of the UK’s £11.6bn contribution to a climate finance initiative, would go to “protecting nature, whether it’s marine life or timber conservation or sustainable food production”.
Programmes supported by the funding will include marine conservation, tackling deforestation and efforts to conserve habitats such as mangroves that protect local communities from the impacts of climate change.
The PM added: “Obviously it’s right to focus on climate change, obviously it’s right to cut CO2 emissions but we won’t achieve a real balance with our planet, unless we protect nature as well.”
And he spoke of the pandemic, saying it “was the product of an imbalance in man’s relationship with natural world”, originating from a “collision between mankind and the natural world”.
The UK is committing to protect 30% of its land and ocean by the end of the decade.
Conservation group WWF said it was vital that our financing of nature restoration overseas goes alongside removing the destruction of nature from UK supply chains.
“As the Environment Bill returns to Parliament this month, the Government has an opportunity to set ambitious new laws to end deforestation, reduce our global footprint and set nature on the path to recovery,” said Katie White, executive director of advocacy and campaigns at WWF.
About 30 politicians and opinion leaders addressed the summit, including the Prince of Wales.
Prince Charles, who is marking 50 years of environmental campaigning, called on firms to back a more sustainable future and do more to protect the planet.
He wants companies to join what he is calling “Terra Carta” – or Earth charter, which aims to raise £7.3bn to invest in the natural world.