With the reduction of biodiversity, we are facing a global challenge: 75% of the terrestrial environment is severely altered by human activities, as is 60% of the marine environment.
“The future accuses the past and summons Prometheus to the bar″, because tomorrow our children may no longer know what the African black rhino, the Mediterranean monk seal or the European mink are. The latest 2019 IPBES report shows an “unprecedented” and accelerating rate of species extinction. 2] Species extinction is 1000 times higher than the natural rate of extinction and is exclusively linked to human activities.
We are facing one of the most important global challenges of our time: the reduction of biodiversity and ecosystem services that underpin almost all the Sustainable Development Goals. 75% of the terrestrial environment is now severely altered by human activities, as is 60% of the marine environment. At the same time, the number of invasive alien species has increased by about 70% since 1970, both due to increased trade and global warming.
Safeguarding biodiversity must be based on cultural diversity in a renewed alliance of peoples to safeguard this common good.
Major changes will be needed to ensure the preservation, sustainable use and restoration of the biodiversity on which human life depends. Biodiversity loss is not only an environmental problem, it is a major challenge for our societies. And its safeguarding must be based on cultural diversity in a renewed alliance of peoples to safeguard this common good.
While the pressure on ecosystems is increasing, we are becoming aware that human beings are an integral part of Nature, not an overarching one. In this context, it is necessary to develop new solidarities with biodiversity and act concretely for its preservation by supporting local initiatives.
With its 88 member states and governments and its 300 million French-speaking people in the world, the French-speaking world can and must play a decisive role in nature conservation.
The mobilisation of the French-speaking world for nature conservation is essential, particularly in the context of the key international events of 2021-2022: the IUCN World Conservation Congress in September 2021 and the UN COP 15 Biodiversity in 2021 and 2022. As a testimony of the commitment of the French-speaking world to the success of the COP and the effective implementation of the post-2020 biodiversity framework, more than a third of the members of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People are French-speaking. This coalition aims to extend the surface area of protected areas on the planet, which today cover 15.4% of the land and 7.6% of the sea, to 30% of protected areas by 2030, but also the effective management of existing and future protected areas.
We, the French-speaking members of IUCN, are also convinced that IUCN and nature conservation have everything to gain by strengthening the French-speaking network. We hope that the World Congress in 2021 will be an opportunity to give a new impetus to this network.
We want to strengthen the exchange of expertise and knowledge between members in order to communicate better and capitalise on our complementarities. This could mean more joint meetings and communication about our respective publications in French, and a more recurrent exchange on the projects we are each carrying out.
We would also like to support the implementation of more local initiatives and joint programmes. For example, since 2007, the Small Initiatives Programme (SIP), managed by the French Committee of IUCN with funding from the French Global Environment Facility and the MAVA Foundation, has supported 245 biodiversity conservation and local population development projects led by 190 associations in 33 countries, mainly in Central and West Africa. More than 500,000 hectares of protected areas have been created, the protection of threatened species has been improved, and 120 projects to create or support 25 sustainable economic sectors have been supported. Other funds, other means, could, from east to west, from north to south, reinforce these field programmes.
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