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Paris tries to revive green diplomacy

France is organizing a “One Planet Summit” in Paris on Monday dedicated to biodiversity, with the aim of relaunching green diplomacy put on hold by the Covid-19, a pandemic which precisely illustrates the dangers of environmental disturbances.

About thirty personalities must intervene, mainly by video because of the health crisis. Among them, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the President of the World Bank David Malpass, the heir to the British throne Prince Charles, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the British Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado, ECB President Christine Lagarde or WHO boss Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Each should present initiatives or make concrete commitments around the four themes of the conference: protection of terrestrial and marine ecosystems; promotion of agroecology; mobilization of funding; link between deforestation, preservation of species and human health.

A final hot topic as the Covid-19 pandemic illustrates the worrying increase in zoonoses, diseases that pass from animals to humans, in particular due to more frequent contact between species caused by the destruction of wild habitats.

Paris thus hopes “to bring together climatic issues and the preservation of ecosystems,” explains a source at the Elysée. Because faced with epidemics as well as global warming (the year 2020 has just been classified as the hottest tie ever recorded) “the preservation of biodiversity is somewhere our collective life insurance”.

Build mobilization

However, green diplomacy has fallen behind, with an almost blank year in 2020. On the biodiversity side, the congress of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the COP15, which aims to establish a global plan to protect and restore by 2050 the ecosystems essential to humanity, had to be postponed to autumn 2021. On the climate side, the COP26 scheduled for Glasgow (Scotland) has also been postponed by one year, to November 2021 if all goes well .

The “One Planet” therefore aims to “participate in the construction of mobilization” to succeed in this diplomatic sequence by “showing that it is possible to act for the preservation of the planet, of biodiversity, in a very concrete way”.

Regarding the protection of ecosystems, the summit wants to relaunch the “Coalition of high ambition for nature” – headed by France, Great Britain and Costa Rica – with the objective of integrating some fifty countries, each committing to place 30% of its territory in protected areas.

On the issue of funding for biodiversity, it aims to lead a coalition aiming to devote 30% of public funding for the climate to “solutions based on nature” (reforestation for example). The creation of an alliance of private investors could also be announced.

In the field of agroecology, various projects should be announced. The “One Planet” will also be preceded by an investment forum dedicated to the African Union’s “Great Green Wall” program, which aims to combat desertification around the Sahara. Forum which aims to obtain commitments totaling 10 billion dollars. A monitoring mechanism must also be put in place.

And on the link between biodiversity and health, the “One Planet” must in particular launch a research alliance on “prevention of the emergence of zoonoses” (Prezode), aimed at bringing together various existing programs.

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