France unveiled its protected areas strategy on Tuesday, January 12. Extension or creation of 20 national nature reserves, enhanced preservation of the coastline, protection of the Scattered Islands and southern lands … The plan should result in the protection of 30% of the territory, including 10% in strong protection.
In 2019, after the publication of an alarming report of UN experts estimating at one million the number of animal and plant species threatened with extinction in the world, Emmanuel Macron pledged to increase the share of areas marine and land protected at 30% by 2022 in France, of which a third “in full naturalness”. This notion has been replaced by “strong protection”.
France occupies an important place in terms of biodiversity, since it is home to 10% of the known species on the planet and has the second largest maritime space in the world. This 10-year strategy, which will be broken down into three successive action plans, “is based on a French-style protection model: we are moving away from the idea of putting under cover, we are on protection where we restore the balance between nature and human activities”, explained Secretary of State Bérangère Abba.
For the first time, this strategy will integrate land and sea protected areas, both in metropolitan France and overseas. It has seven objectives: to have a network of protected areas resilient to climate change, effective management, “sustainable activities” within them, a strengthening of knowledge or even “defend an ambitious global framework for biodiversity” with the holding of COP15 biodiversity in China in 2021.
“As much as we are going to reach, or even exceed, the 30% of protection of the territory by 2022, as much for the 10% of strong protection, the step is high”, recalled the Secretary of State, since France is currently at 1.8% (hearts of national parks, national nature reserves, biological reserves in forests …)