NEW YORK – French President Emmanuel Macron was philosophical on Wednesday in his appeal for global efforts to reverse biodiversity loss, saying biodiversity is the life insurance of humans.
The protection of nature raises the fundamental ethical issue of the protection of human beings. Above all, the protection of biodiversity is the protection of ecosystems, he told the UN Biodiversity Summit, reports Xinhua news agency.
“I do not believe that the right of any other living creature is higher than a human right. But I do not believe in the effectiveness of preserving human rights without preserving the ecosystems in which we live.
“For me, this is the philosophical and ethical basis of this battle for biodiversity. This is why this new challenge must be the occasion for collective awakening,” Macron said.
“Scientists have long been alerting about the risks of the appearance of new infectious diseases due to deforestation and the poaching of wild species, by showing the very close links between human, animal and environmental health.
“The COVID-19 pandemic reminds that biodiversity is the life insurance of humans. When it is weakened, our health security and our economic security are at stake,” said Macron.
He stressed the need to step up the fight against environmental crime, and to put a definitive end to all illegal activities that endanger nature, destroy ecosystems, feed corruption, hinder the development of the rule of law and, ultimately undermine the sustainable development of humanity.
Macron also called for the transformation of the current models of production, trade and consumption, “because it is illusory to think that the development of societies can be based on a production model that destroys living creatures and therefore, ultimately, of our common health and prosperity.”
He called for public investment to enable the transformation. The French recovery plan will devote more than 1 billion euros (US$1.17 billion) to biodiversity and the fight against land degradation, he said.
If 2020 is the year of awareness, 2021 must be the year of action, said Macron.
France will mobilise for the adoption of an ambitious new global strategic framework for the protection of biodiversity at next year’s UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming, China, he said.
“Like the Paris Agreement on climate change, we would like this agreement to include quantified and measurable commitments, as well as a clear implementation and accountability mechanism,” he said.
In this spirit, France has already set itself ambitious objectives by taking the lead, alongside Costa Rica, of a coalition aiming to protect 30 per cent of the land and maritime species of the planet in the next decade, including 10 per cent that would benefit from reinforced protection, he said.
He invited all states to join this coalition and affirmed his determination to mobilise the international community at the highest level and deliver for the first time a message of common ambition in response to the three challenges of the climate crisis, loss of biodiversity and land degradation.