Biodiversity plays a vital role because its conservation maintains the fragile balance of ecosystems which provide the basic services that are crucial to life on Earth (production of atmospheric oxygen, recycling of nutrients, primary production) and supply services (food, natural material and fibre, fresh water, bioenergy, etc.) that are essential to human well-being. Ecosystems also play a regulating role in the face of natural disasters, epidemics and climate change. They shape human cultures and spiritual beliefs.
Biodiversity is being eroded and destroyed at an alarming rate.
The most recent report of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), adopted at its 7th session in Paris in 2019 underlines that nature has been significantly damaged by human activity, causing major unprecedented changes in ecosystems. A total of 70% of land, 40% of oceans and 50% of water courses have reportedly been affected for the worse. Also, 25% of animal and plant species are under threat of extinction.
Biological diversity – or biodiversity – is the term for all forms of life on Earth and their natural characteristics. Biodiversity covers the diversity found in each species (genetic diversity) and the diversity between species (species diversity) and between ecosystems (ecosystem diversity).
This massive degradation of biodiversity directly challenges the possibility of achieving 80% of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly those related to poverty, hunger, health, water, cities, climate, oceans and land. The main direct factors of this degradation are changes in the use of land and water, direct exploitation of resources, climate change, pollution and invasive alien species.
The consequences of damage to biodiversity have now made the challenge of its conservation a priority environmental concern, along with climate change.
2020 and 2021 will be critical years for the protection of biodiversity globally. Preparatory meetings for CBD COP 15 will be held in Kunming in 2020 in which a new global strategic framework including ambitious goals for biodiversity is set to be adopted. A biodiversity summit will also be held in September on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. France will host the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille in January 2021.
In its National Plan for Biodiversity published in July 2018, France committed to making biodiversity an environmental priority of its diplomatic network and putting it high on the world’s political agenda in order to obtain ambitious and significant outcomes at CBD COP15.
Updated : May 2020