France hosts the One Planet summit to protect global biodiversity

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                La protection de la biodiversité mondiale était à l'ordre du jour lundi des dirigeants mondiaux lors du One Planet Summit organisé par la France, qui se tenait par vidéoconférence en raison de la pandémie de coronavirus. 
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                                    <p>Le sommet d'une journée se concentre sur quatre grands thèmes: la protection des écosystèmes terrestres et marins;  promouvoir l'agroécologie, une manière plus durable de cultiver des aliments;  augmenter le financement pour protéger la biodiversité;  et identifier les liens entre la déforestation et la santé des humains et des animaux.

Around 30 leaders, government officials and international organizations attended, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. China will be represented by Vice Premier Han Zheng.

The event, organized by France, the UN and the World Bank, takes place in the absence of senior US officials, as President-elect Joe Biden, a strong advocate for climate issues, does not take office until the 20 January. Other notable absences include the leaders of Russia, India and Brazil.

Organizers hope to merge the fight against climate change and the preservation of biodiversity as experts say the two problems are interconnected and that any solution must be too.

UK allocates $ 4 billion to protect biodiversity

“Protecting 30% of the planet will undoubtedly improve the quality of life of our citizens and help us create a just, low-carbon and resilient society,” said Andrea Meza, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica , who co-chairs the coalition with France and Great Britain.

The coalition noted in a statement that the well-being of humanity depends on preventing the collapse of natural systems that provide food, clean water, clean air and a stable climate.

Britain will allocate 3 billion pounds ($ 4 billion) over five years for projects to protect and restore nature and biodiversity, Johnson said on Monday.

“We will not meet our climate change, sustainability or pandemic prevention goals if we do not take care of the natural world that provides us with the food we eat, the water we drink and the air. that we breathe, ”Johnson said in a statement.

A million species threatened with extinction

So far, efforts to protect and restore nature on a global scale have failed dramatically.

The planet is on the cusp of a mass extinction event in which species are disappearing at 100 to 1,000 times the normal “background” rate, most scientists agree.

The UN’s Scientific Advisory Group on Biodiversity warned in a landmark 2019 report that a million species are threatened with extinction, mostly due to habitat loss and overexploitation.

Human activity, she concluded, had “seriously degraded” three-quarters of the planet’s ice-free land.

‘Climate emergency’

The situation on climate change is just as dire.

As part of the 2015 Paris Agreement, the world’s nations pledged to cap global warming “well below” 2 ° C and 1.5 ° C if possible.

With just over 1 ° C of warming so far, the world has seen a crescendo of deadly droughts, heatwaves, flood-causing rains and super-storms made more destructive by rising seas.

The European Union’s climate watch service said 2020 was the hottest year on record.

Guterres warned last month that nations were not doing enough to avoid devastating temperature rises and urged world leaders to declare a “climate emergency” in their countries.

The next major UN climate summit, COP26, has also been postponed due to the pandemic and is now due to be held in November.

Last October, the UN Biodiversity Expert Panel warned that future pandemics would occur more often, kill more people, and cause even worse damage to the global economy than Covid-19 without fundamental change in the way humans treat nature.

The summit will also launch the High Ambition Coalition – a group of 45 countries led by Costa Rica, France and Britain – which aims to secure a global deal to protect at least 30% of the planet’s land and oceans from ‘by 2030.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)

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