One Planet Summit, a first summit to launch the year of biodiversity

One Planet Summit, a first summit to launch the year of biodiversity

Violet Field inPlanetJan 11, 2021 6 min read15 views

2021 promises to be crucial for biodiversity with a series of international summits which should lead to the development of a new framework to better protect our ecosystems.

President Emmanuel Macron speaks at a previous edition of the One Planet Summit on September 26, 2018. - Seth Wenig / AP / SIPA
  • Launched by Emmanuel Macron in 2017, the One Planet Summits bring together heads of state and actors from civil and private society to create new coalitions on ecological transition. A fourth edition is organized this Monday from the Elysée
  • And this time, we will talk about biodiversity. From the great green wall of Africa to agroecology, including the protection of marine ecosystems and the links between deforestation, species, and human health.
  • The Elysée promises concrete commitments. One way to get 2021 off to a good start? The year promises to be crucial for biodiversity with, at the end of the year, the Kunming summit in China, which must be as major as the COP21 was on climate.

This is another consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic: 2020 has been an almost blank year for international summits dedicated to the environment. To the chagrin of biodiversity? We announced the crucial year on the front of the fight against the erosion of living organisms, this other great environmental challenge of this 21st century with global warming.

Two peaks, above all, were to punctuate the year. The World Conservation Congress of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), which was scheduled last June in Marseille, and biodiversity COP15 in Kuming, China, to be held this fall. This especially was expected. It was to give birth to a new global framework, post-2020, to better protect ecosystems. The aim was therefore to find a follow-up to the twenty Aïchi objectives, defined by the international community for the period 2010-2020, none of which have been fully achieved.

Did ambition strengthen with the Covid-19?

Maud Lelièvre, president of the French committee of the IUCN, invites us to put into perspective the impact of these missed appointments. “These summits have all been postponed to 2021,” she recalls. Admittedly, we have postponed decision-making by one year, which is not anything in view of the pressures which weigh on natural ecosystems today. On the other hand, the Covid-19 pandemic [a zoonosis] has further shown that the biodiversity crisis is a major political issue. This health crisis has had at least this revealing effect on many people. "

Including in the sphere of political leaders? Start of response this Monday while a new One Planet Summit is being held all day long, organized by France in consultation with the United Nations and the World Bank. Covid-19 requires, it will be held online for the majority of the participants, even if a dozen of them are expected at the Elysee.

These international summits, desired by Emmanuel Macron, bring together heads of state, actors from civil and private society with the aim of creating new coalitions around concrete initiatives to advance the ecological transition.

The Great Green Wall to start the day

The first three editions - Paris in 2017, New York in 2018, and Nairobi in 2019 - focused on climate change and ways of financing the energy transition. The fourth, this Monday, will focus on biodiversity. The day will begin with an investment forum dedicated to “the great green wall for the Sahara and the Sahel” . This pharaonic project has been supported for fifteen years by the African Union but is slipping today. It aims to fight climate change and desertification on the continent by restoring degraded agricultural land along an 8,000 kilometer long strip from Senegal to Djibouti.

The afternoon will officially begin this international summit built around four themes. “The protection of terrestrial and marine ecosystems, the promotion of agroecology, the mobilization of funding for biodiversity and finally the link between deforestation, species and human health, lists the Elysée, recalling that these will also be the four key themes of the negotiation of COP15 biodiversity, reprogrammed at the end of the year, still in Kunming.

Give the best start to the crucial year 2021

This is the whole point of this fourth One Planet Summit: to give the best possible start to the crucial year 2021 in terms of environmental diplomacy.

Among the speakers expected on Monday, the entourage of Emmanuel Macron announces Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN, David Malpass, President of the World Bank, Ursula von Leyen, President of the European Commission, and several heads of state, from Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, to Carlos Alvarado, President of Costa Rica, through Boris Johnson, British Prime Minister, or Justin Trudeau, his Canadian counterpart.

But more than the casting, it is the expected coalitions that matter. Six major international initiatives have already been announced. One will aim to accelerate the achievement of the objectives of the Great Green Wall "with an expected envelope of 10 billion euros for the period 2021-2025", specifies an adviser to Emmanuel Macron.

Extend the High Ambition for Nature coalition to 50 countries

This new One Planet Summit will also seek to expand the coalition of the High Ambiton for nature, launched by Costa Rica, France, and Great Britain. Its member countries are committed to putting 30% of their land and sea spaces under protection by 2030, one of the flagship objectives to be discussed in Kunming. "This coalition has about twenty members to date, the objective is to increase to 50 this Monday, which is not impossible", we slip in the entourage of the President of the Republic. To launch the momentum, Emmanuel Macron will confirm France's commitment to reach this milestone of 30% of protected areas, including 10% under strong protection, by 2022.

At the same time, this One Planet Summit will present “the Coalition for the exemplary Mediterranean Sea in 2030”, based on an action plan around the preservation of sustainable fishing, the fight against marine pollution, and the sustainability of maritime transport. Brand new, it currently only has six members *. Here again, it will be a question of making it ramp up.

Other alliances are still announced on the issue of finances allocated to biodiversity issues. The "coalition for the convergence of financing around climate and biodiversity" should thus see the light of day on Monday. "It aims to ensure that 30% of public climate finance is devoted to programs aimed at solutions based on nature", we always specify at the Elysee.

So much for the program. Once again, the Covid-19 should not be a spoiler. Thursday, the Elysée remained cautious on the list of personalities present, preparing for possible last-minute cancellations.

* France, Spain, Italy, Tunisia, Monaco, and the European Commission.