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France to reach out to Pacific Leaders on a global agreement on the protection of the world’s biodiversity

After the success of the Paris Agreement on climate change in 2015, France now wants to champion a similar global agreement for the protection of the world’s biodiversity.

And the European nation is campaigning to push through a global pact on biodiversity at the next Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity 15th Session (COP15) to be hosted in Beijing next year.

It is now critical to have this global agreement given the rapid and dramatic loss of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish – a decrease of more than half in less than 50 years, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature’s Living Planet Index report.

The report attributes the decline to habitat loss, pollution, climate change, over-exploitation and the spread of invasive species and diseases, underscoring environmentalists’ concerns that human activity is taking a heavy toll

From 1970 to 2014, vertebrate population sizes dropped by 60 percent, while freshwater populations sank by 83 percent.

At a recent media briefing in Paris, senior government officials said France is using a number of international meetings this year, in the lead up to COP15 to get governments to commit to a global agreement – and set a target for biodiversity.

“This is similar to the long-term goal of the Paris Agreement, keeping the temperature to well below 2 degrees and to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees, to reduce the risks and effects of climate change. We also need to define a similar global target for biodiversity, said one of the French officials.

“If the target is set, then we can engage States to commit to adhering to the goal to save the world’s biodiversity.

“France is riding on the success of COP21 and want to make it the same for COP15 for Biodiversity. President Emmanuel Macron has mobilised an international campaign to step up efforts to ensure clearly defined goals are set, as well as a time frame that would alleviate the current pressures on the environment, said the official.

He said this will be one of the critical issues on the agenda when President Macron meets Pacific Leaders later in the year in French Polynesia.

“We would like to see a number of political statements on mobilising an international agreement on biodiversity. We will also be discussing issues around the Blue and Green economies in the Pacific, said the French Government official.

Almost all of the French overseas territories are located in global biodiversity hotspots – areas rich in species but also highly threatened: the Caribbean Islands, the Indian Ocean islands, Polynesia -Micronesia, New Caledonia. Many endangered species are also present in French Guiana.

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