Commitments to act in favor of biodiversity
On 11 January 2021, from 14:00 to 17:00 CET, the fourth One Planet Summit brought together decision-makers from around the world to accelerate international action for nature.
The Summit’s participants included 11 Heads of State and Government (Canada, Costa Rica, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, France, Germany, Italy, Mauritania, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom), as well as the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Prince of Wales, and the Presidents of the European Commission and the European Council.
The main achievements at the end of this Summit are as follows:
1. Protection of terrestrial and marine ecosystems:
France and Costa Rica launched the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, which aims to create the conditions for the adoption of an ambitious nature protection target by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity at the end of the year. To date, these efforts have brought 52 States behind the Coalition, committing to work for the protection of 30% of terrestrial and marine spaces by 2030.
As far as France is concerned, the President of the Republic announced his commitment to applying this level of protection to our marine territories in 2022. Moreover, he announced the publication of the French Strategy for Protected Areas, in order to document the planned trajectory to achieving the goal. The human resources of the public agencies concerned will be stepped up in the next three years, including through civic service recruitment.
A new Coalition for an Exemplary Mediterranean in 2030 was launched today by France, Spain and the Principality of Monaco. It is built around 4 commitments: (1) developing a network of protected areas; (2) ending overfishing; (3) fighting marine pollution and ending single-use plastic; (4) greening maritime transport. This Coalition will continue its efforts to bring on board other Mediterranean rim States, as well as regional and local actors, civil society and the private sector. The Summit of the Two Shores and the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille will help generate momentum.
2. Promotion of agroecology:
Acknowledging that agroecology helps preserve biodiversity while addressing the Sustainable Development Goals and creating jobs, this One Planet Summit decided to make it a key aspect of international efforts.
This issue is particularly important in Africa, where the effects of climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss are combining and threaten many countries’ food security. As such, a programme has been established, called the “Great Green Wall Accelerator” (GGW Accelerator). This multi-stakeholder initiative aims to catalyse financial efforts by all donors, giving new impetus to this ambitious African initiative, launched in the 1980s, to green the Sahel. The initiative’s partners have pledged almost €14 billion ($16.85 billion) in international finance for the 11 countries concerned by 2025.
Some $14.3 billion has already been budgeted. The President of the European Commission announced that it could contribute more than €2.5 billion in its upcoming programming that is being prepared. More than a hundred private companies, grouped around the IAM AFRICA (International Agroecological Movement for Africa) charter, have also committed to contribute to the implementation of agroecological transition objectives in the Great Green Wall countries. A secretariat, attached to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), has been created to follow up on these commitments. The President of the French Republic committed to following up on the initiative at the next Africa-France Summit, set to take place in Montpellier in July.
The French President announced French support for the planting of 7,000 km of hedgerows by 2022, confirming the new impetus given to the agroecological transition in French agriculture under the national recovery plan.
3. Finance for biodiversity:
At the instigation of HRH The Prince of Wales, the Natural Capital Investment Alliance was announced. HSBC Pollination Climate Asset Management, Lombard Odier and Mirova are already participating. It brings together financial actors wishing to increase their investments in biodiversity restoration, and aims to raise $10 billion for nature by 2022.
The Summit laid the foundations for a coalition for convergence of climate and biodiversity finance, aimed at building more synergies between climate action and biosphere conservation. Its members will work to increase the share of their climate finance that also benefits biodiversity. This principle was supported at the One Planet Summit by Canada, France, Norway and the United Kingdom.
Nationally, France indicated that at least 30% of its climate finance would have biodiversity co-benefits by 2030. This target will be reached by 2025 for finance provided by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD).
The Summit generated political momentum, particularly from Canada, France and the United Kingdom, for the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosure (TNFD). This initiative, promoted by public and private stakeholders, including 50-odd leading financial institutions, will develop a framework for measuring the risks, impacts and benefits of economic activities with regard to biodiversity – like the TCFD for the climate.
Lastly, Canada announced a contribution of up to CA$55 million (€35.3 million) to the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund, to support sustainable management and restoration of land, particularly in Africa. France also announced it would join the initiative. With this announcement, which will help foster additional private sector investments, the Fund could achieve the goals set when it was launched, at the December 2017 One Planet Summit.
4. Protecting forests, species and human health:
France launched the PREZODE (PREventing ZOonotic Diseases Emergence) initiative, which will establish unprecedented international cooperation between research actors and health vigilance networks, supported notably by the FAO, for the prevention of new pandemics originating from animal reservoirs. Created in liaison with numerous European research actors, the initiative now has more than 400 researchers and human, animal and environmental health actors involved worldwide.
The One Planet Summit was the opportunity for a stocktake of the Alliance for Rainforests, announced at the 2019 G7. Germany and the Democratic Republic of the Congo announced their membership of the Alliance.
During the debate on imported deforestation, in addition to national strategies developed notably by France and the Netherlands, the European Commission and Parliament announced a timetable for strong decisions to fight imported deforestation during 2021. The French President indicated that, in addition to these decisions, France would implement its national plant proteins strategy, published a few weeks ago. In addition, he called for cooperation between Europe and Africa to multiply the production of plant proteins using agroecological methods, with the aim of enhancing food security in Africa while contributing to the EU’s plant protein supplies.
The French President reaffirmed his determination to follow up on all these commitments, and scheduled the next stocktake to take place during the IUCN World Conservation Congress, to be held in Marseille from 3 to 11 September 2021.