As part of a joint effort to advocate for the preservation of pristine natural spaces, the French Committee of IUCN, in collaboration with the French National Commission for UNESCO, organized a seminar on January 8 and 9, 2024, at UNESCO headquarters. This seminar aimed to promote the importance of natural areas characterized by minimal or no human intervention, thus allowing natural processes to express themselves freely.

This two-day meeting was designed to raise awareness about the preservation of wild nature and its associated challenges on the first day, followed by workshops aimed at identifying common strategies for conservation networks on the second day. The lessons learned from this seminar are intended to elevate the concept of wild nature preservation within UNESCO and to foster collaboration between conservation networks and the general public. The rich exchanges of experiences allowed for the identification of obstacles and facilitators for implementing wild nature preservation strategies at local and national levels, thus promoting this management approach.

The first day of the seminar featured discussions and deliberations around the concept of wild nature preservation. Participants debated the definition of wild nature preservation, as there is currently no universally accepted definition. Through concrete examples, the seminar explored wild nature preservation in various environments, such as mountain forests and open landscapes, examining the associated challenges and potential solutions. Additionally, strategies for disseminating and implementing the concept in different territories were explored, highlighting existing legal tools such as Environmental Real Obligations (ORE).

Furthermore, the seminar expanded its scope by addressing wild nature preservation in the European context. Case studies, including the significance of preserving the last “primeval forest” in Europe at Bialowieza, Poland, and initiatives in the Belgian Ardennes, provided valuable insights into regional approaches.

The importance of the seminar lies in its efforts to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing among stakeholders to articulate actions and communicate the importance of wild nature preservation. Notably, the seminar concluded with the signing of a joint declaration between the French National Commission for UNESCO and the French Committee of IUCN regarding wild nature preservation. This declaration demonstrates the commitment to promoting wild nature preservation as a management approach for natural environments, uniting stakeholders, and broadly disseminating this practice.

In conclusion, the seminar on wild nature preservation organized by the French Committee of IUCN, in partnership with the French National Commission for UNESCO, marks a crucial step towards promoting conservation efforts and a deeper understanding of wild nature preservation principles. By advocating for wild nature preservation and fostering collaboration, this initiative aims to protect biodiversity and promote sustainable management practices for the benefit of present and future generations.

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