The planet is experiencing accelerated warming and biodiversity erosion at a rate that has not been seen for millions of years. Given the increasingly serious and lasting damage being done to the planet, human societies are becoming aware of the planet’s limited capacities and the need to preserve and manage ecosystems over the long term so that they can continue providing essential services for our lives (waters, soils, air, forests, oceans, etc.).
In this context, which is well-documented by science, the environment, and climate and biodiversity in particular, have become a major diplomatic priority.
The responses to these crises, which affect global public goods, are fundamentally multilateral. The year 2015 was a turning point, with the adoption of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Although it still remains patchy, this global awareness of these issues is growing. Environmental and climate issues are now increasingly an official framework for national public policies, particularly through the Paris Agreement Nationally Determined Contributions.
Defending the environment covers issues such as protection of the oceans, species threatened by illegal trade, combating marine and atmospheric pollution and fighting deforestation. It also requires the establishment of constantly reinforced law that is protective and binding, effective throughout all branches of production and consumption activities in order to force these sectors to respect ecosystems.
But as it seeks to protect the ecosystems that make our life on Earth possible, environmental protection goes much further, interacting with other concerns:
• Energy resources (reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by changing national energy mixes);
• Incorporating environmental norms into the rules of global trade;
• Health issues (scientifically proven links between biodiversity erosion and zoonotic diseases) and food security (combating soil degradation caused by unsustainable agricultural practices);
• Security of States which are subject to migratory movements linked to periods of drought or flooding, which are consequences of climate change.
France is fully committed to this effort being made by the international community, and has deployed its entire diplomacy network to address the urgent climate and environment crisis.
Updated: December 2020