World leaders at France summit focus on better protecting biodiversity

13 Janvier, 2021, 16:26 | Auteur: Therese Cote
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Addressing world leaders at the One Planet Summit on Monday, Guterres outlined how he saw a fearless new world of the future, based on the theme of a great climate and economic reset he has espoused before.

The one-day event had been scheduled to take place in the southern French port city of Marseille in 2020, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

During his campaign, Mr Biden pledged to better protect biodiversity by preserving 30 per cent of American lands and waters by 2030. Together with the United Kingdom and Norway, Germany has set aside $5 billion over the past 5 years to protect rainforests.

Funding from the existing commitment of £11.6 billion for global climate finance will go towards projects such as preventing the destruction of forests, marine conservation efforts and protecting mangrove swamps.

"Protecting 30 per cent of the planet will undoubtedly improve the quality of life of our citizens, and help us achieve a fair, decarbonised and resilient society", he said.

"We know even more clearly amid the crisis we are going through that all our vulnerabilities are interrelated", Mr Macron said.

Wildlife populations have plummeted almost 70 per cent in less than 50 years due to human activity, and scientists have warned that urgent efforts to restore and protect nature and biodiversity are required to prevent further destruction of ecosystems that support human life.

What issues were on the summit agenda?

Adding: "In 2010 our leaders signed "ambitious goals to protect wildlife and ecosystems.' By 2021 they'd failed on every single one".

Promoting agroecology - a term describing a more sustainable way to grow food.

World leaders on Monday reiterated the urgent need for concerted global action to safeguard biodiversity and for a global governance framework on climate issues in the post-pandemic era.

The Covid-19 pandemic highlights the worrying multiplication of zoonoses - diseases that pass from animals to humans - as a result of increased contact between humans and species whose wild habitats are being destroyed.

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With the COVID-19 pandemic as a backdrop, the conference explored pandemic prevention in conjunction with species protection.

Japan, Pakistan, Colombia, Nigeria, Kenya, Canada, and Mexico were also among the nations that have endorsed the 30 per cent goal, which is expected to become the centrepiece of a landmark Paris-style UN agreement on nature to be finalised at the UN COP15 biodiversity summit in China, which is now slated to take place in May.

The French-led One Planet Summit, backed by the United Nations and the World Bank, saw more than 50 nations support a plan to create protected areas covering 30 percent of global lands and oceans.

Also participating in the summit were German chancellor Angela Merkel, European Central Bank president Christine Lagarde, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen.

Speaking at the summit via video link from Beijing, China's Vice-Premier Han Zheng called for global cooperation to protect the world's biodiversity.

The event, organised by France, the United Nations and the World Bank, is taking place in the absence of top officials from the USA, as President-elect Joe Biden, a strong proponent of climate issues, does not take office until January 20.

Top US officials were notably absent, as were the leaders of Russia, India and Brazil.

"Until now, we have been destroying our planet, abusing it as if we had a spare one", United Nations chief Antonio Guterres told the Paris meeting via a video link from NY.

Yesterday's One Planet Summit comes at the start of a critical year for worldwide climate and environmental action, with a series of major events in the calendar created to help ramp up ambition to avert excalating threats to the planet.

So far there have been meetings in Paris in 2017, NY in 2018 and Nairobi in 2019.

The U.N. chief, 71, said he envisaged a new future alignment between "public and private financial flows" that obeyed the Paris Agreement commitments to "integrate the goal of carbon neutrality into all economic and fiscal decisions".

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