Without biodiversity, there is no future for human beings: we have the power to act to stem the erosion of biodiversity.
Biodiversity is the term for all life on earth and its natural characteristics. It plays a vital role, because its maintenance depends on the fragile balance of ecosystems that provide the basic services essential for life on earth (production of oxygen from the air, recycling of nutrients, primary production), but also the provisioning services (food, natural materials and fibres, fresh water, bioenergy, etc.) essential for human well-being. Ecosystems also play a regulatory role in the face of natural disasters, epidemics and climate change.
France has a very rich natural heritage with more than 180,000 species recorded in metropolitan France and overseas, i.e. 10% of the known species on the planet. Around 600 new species are discovered in France every year.
However, the erosion and destruction of global biodiversity is now reaching an alarming rate. 60% of wild animals have disappeared over the last 50 years and 1 million species are threatened with extinction.
To address the various threats to biodiversity, France has made the protection of biodiversity and its restoration one of its main environmental priorities.
The UN plays a major role in the protection of biodiversity.
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD): adopted in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio and bringing together 193 States, it is the reference international convention on biological diversity. The Convention is supplemented by two protocols:
the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety
the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Fair and Equitable Sharing of the Benefits Arising out of their Utilization (ABS).
The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES): created by a resolution of the UN General Assembly on 20 December 2010, this group of international experts is mandated to assess the global status of biodiversity and ecosystem services to human societies. France hosted the last plenary session of the IPBES (IPBES-7) in Paris from 29 April to 4 May 2019. This session was notably marked by the adoption of the first Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.
Concerned by the continuing loss of biodiversity worldwide, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 22 May as the International Day for Biological Diversity in a resolution adopted in 2001 (A/RES/55/201).
At the United Nations, Member States negotiate a resolution on biodiversity each year in the Second Committee. The last resolution on the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and its contribution to sustainable development was adopted by the General Assembly on 21 December 2020 (A/RES/75/219).
A source of solutions, biodiversity is also one of the "guiding thread" of the UN Agenda 2030 for sustainable development. SDGs 14 and 15 (preservation of terrestrial and marine ecosystems) directly target biodiversity, but the preservation and restoration of biodiversity is actually present as a filigree in all the other objectives.
Since 2018, France has been implementing a Biodiversity Plan, which includes 90 actions and is structured around 6 thematic areas:
1. Reclaiming biodiversity in the territories;
2. Building an economy without pollution and with a low impact on biodiversity;
3. Protecting and restoring nature in all its components;
4. Developing an ambitious European and international roadmap for biodiversity;
5. Knowledge, education and training;
6. Improving the effectiveness of biodiversity policies.
In January 2021, France adopted a new national strategy for protected areas which gives concrete expression to the ambition of the President of the Republic to cover at least 30% of the national territory and maritime waters under jurisdiction or sovereignty by a coherent network of protected areas, which will be effectively managed in 2030. This strategy also provides for 10% of the national territory to be placed under strong protection.
France also has a National Strategy against Imported Deforestation (SNDI).
France is also fully mobilized at the international level to combat the erosion of biodiversity. Together with Costa Rica, it is co-piloting the Coalition of High Ambition for Nature and People, whose aim is to defend the objective of protecting at least 30% of natural areas (land and sea) by 2030.
On 6 November 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese President Xi Jinping launched a joint appeal on biodiversity conservation and climate change in Beijing, which reveals the affirmation of strong political leadership for biodiversity.
In 2020, although the COVID-19 pandemic led to the postponement of some major meetings on nature, the United Nations organized a Biodiversity Summit on September 30, 2020, which President Macron attended and which was the subject of great mobilization from the Member States.
On the sidelines of the Summit, France endorsed a "Leaders’ Pledge for Nature" which has been joined to date by more than 80 countries and many non-state actors.
On the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement, on December 12, 2020, France, the United Kingdom and the United Nations jointly organized the Climate Ambition Summit 2020 which represents a milestone in the preparation of COP26 in 2021.
As President Emmanuel Macron said at the United Nations Biodiversity Summit, "If 2020 is the year of our wake-up call, 2021 must be the year of action. "
On January 11, 2021, in Paris, France organized, in cooperation with the United Nations and the World Bank, a fourth edition of the One Planet Summit dedicated to biodiversity. Aiming to raise the level of ambition of the international community on nature protection, the event focused on four themes:
1. Protection of terrestrial and marine ecosystems
2. Promotion of agroecology
3. Finance for biodiversity
4. Protecting forests, species and human health
This One Planet Summit brought together heads of state and government, leaders of international organizations, business leaders and civil society and was an opportunity to coordinate actions to take concrete action to preserve and restore ecosystems and to initiate profound changes in our economy.
2021 is a pivotal year for nature and climate on the multilateral stage.
Three Conferences of the Parties to major environmental conventions will be held this year:
- The COP on Desertification
- The COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, scheduled virtually from 11 to 15 October 2021 and in person from 25 April to 8 May 2022 in Kunming (China)
- The COP26 on climate change which will take place in Glasgow (Scotland) from 1st to 12 November 2021
High-level meetings are also planned in New York on desertification, oceans, as well as the UN summit on food systems and the high-level dialogue on energy.
In addition, France will host the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille from 3 to 11 September 2021.
The Permanent Representation of France to the United Nations in New York regularly participates in biodiversity-related events. In particular, it will co-organize on April 20, 2021, with other partners (UNDP, UNEP, WWF, WCS), a high-level event entitled "Raising Ambitions for Nature". Click here to learn more and follow the event.