One Planet Summit: biodiversity in the spotlight

The protection of biodiversity is at the heart of 2021. The fight will take center stage in the second half of the year at COP15 biodiversity in Kunming, China.

This summit made it possible to take stock of “the coalition for high ambition”, led by Costa Rica, France and the United Kingdom. It now has more than 50 states committed to protecting “at least 30% of the land and oceans”.

Leaders and economic players pledged Monday (January 11th) to do more for biodiversity, on which humanity’s survival depends, without detailing their promises or putting much more money on the table.

The conference was devoted to four themes: protection of terrestrial and marine ecosystems; promotion of agroecology; mobilization of funding; link between deforestation, preservation of species and human health.

While many of them participated virtually through video conferences due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Prince Albert II of Monaco was present alongside French President Emmanuel Macron.

Spoke during the session on the protection of marine and land spaces. Prince Albert II of Monaco cited the example of two initiatives developed in the Mediterranean with the support of his foundation, as the latter reported on social networks. These are The MedFund and Beyond Plastic Med (BeMed). He recalled “that to act for the preservation of seas and forests was to act for the survival of humanity”.

A private, non-profit institution created in 2015 and based in Monaco, The MedFund provides sustainable funding for the conservation of biodiversity in marine protected areas in different Mediterranean countries. The association Beyond Plastic Med and created in January 2019, is intended to fight against plastic pollution at sea, its part given for missions to support and network the actors committed against this pollution in the Mediterranean, to implement solutions efficient and sustainable and encourage the search for new alternatives, and finally mobilize stakeholders and the general public through knowledge and sharing of good practices.

France has taken the initiative to organize a One Planet Summit on January 11 dedicated to financing nature protection. On this occasion, Caisse des Dépôts (shareholder of Novethic) launched a vast action plan.

Next, the CDC undertakes to question the companies in which it is a shareholder on their strategy for preserving biodiversity, at the rate of two business sectors per year, starting with the food industry and chemicals. “By asking the companies in which we invest about the impacts of their value chain and their commitments, we intend to create a movement in favor of biodiversity”, assures Nathalie Lhayani, director of the group’s sustainable policy. This shareholder dialogue could take the form of voting resolutions at a General Meeting, warns the Caisse.

Financial players are increasingly coming together in a coalition to lead the fight against biodiversity. This turns out to be even more complex than that for the climate. “The issue of biodiversity is an emerging subject brought up at this stage by the most committed financial players and public banks. The first reason is a lack of data. Within the framework of the Finance for Biodiversity platform, the objective of the CDC is notably to bring out common market standards. We also need, as for the climate, a comprehensive target by 2030 or 2050 “, explains Nathalie Lhayani.

Other actors have made commitments as well. This is the case with Mirova, HSBC Pollination Climate Asset Management and Lombard Odier, who have formed the Natural Capital Investment Alliance. Together, they hope to mobilize players in finance to direct up to $ 10 billion on the theme of natural capital by 2022. “Mirova’s ambition is to allow natural capital to become an investment theme in its own right. “, explains its CEO Philippe Zaouati.

A new coalition, much more modest (six countries), has been launched for the Mediterranean, which is very polluted and victim of overfishing. France hopes to strengthen it by the IUCN congress scheduled for September in Marseille.

Gilles Simeoni, President of the Corsican Executive, spoke with his hat of President of the Islands Commission of the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of the European Union, during the round table on the exemplary Mediterranean action plan 2030 in the first sequence devoted to the protection of land and sea spaces.

“The Mediterranean is a jewel in terms of biodiversity. While it represents less than 1% of the ocean surface, it is one of the richest seas in the world in terms of biological diversity. But it is a jewel today threatened with impoverishment, even disappearance, ”he stressed.

“Promoting maritime transport practices to protect the environment and fight against climate change” and within the latter, four actions as so many promising initiatives.

“Green ports, in particular through the electrification of docks and their supply with an alternative energy source”, (…); “compliance with the Marpol Convention for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships”; the need “to obtain the commitment of maritime transport players in favor of the protection of the marine environment”; the strengthening “of the fight against degassing, pollution by hydrocarbons, and other harmful substances in the Mediterranean, an action which speaks to the islanders and Mediterranean people that we are, and particularly to Corsicans”.

About thirty decision-makers; among them the British and Canadian Prime Ministers, the German Chancellor, the President of the European Commission, the Director General of the World Health Organization (…); spoke on these major topics.

With 60% of the world’s ecosystems degraded and more than a million species, plants and animals threatened with extinction, according to UN data, human activities are putting the planet in greater danger than ever .

The UK has announced it will invest $ 4 billion to achieve this goal. According to the British government, this contribution, from the fund of $ 15,633 million made available to the country to face the climate crisis, will go to projects aimed at preventing the destruction of forests and the conservation of marine resources.

This is an important support for an initiative launched in 2019 by six countries (Costa Rica, France, Finland, Gabon, Grenada and United Kingdom) under the name of Coalition for a high ambition for nature and people, which now manages to join its ranks about fifty nations in total, including Japan, Kenya, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Ecuador.

“The pandemic recovery is our chance to change course (…) With smart policies and adequate investments, we can chart a course that ensures the health of all, revitalizes economies, generates resilience and reinforces biodiversity”, a said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

In parallel, a conference was held on Monday to invest in the Great Green Wall of Africa project, which involves great efforts to prevent the Sahara desert from extending further south.

Launched in 2007, it aims to plant an arch of trees that covers 7,000 kilometers across Africa, from Senegal along the Atlantic to Djibouti in the Gulf of Aden.

Participants welcomed the creation of an accelerator, which is expected to release $ 14.3 billion over the next five years to fund the program.

In 2021, the world congress of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN, in September), the 15th meeting of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15), the COP26 for the climate (in November) and the COP against desertification.

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