IUCN brings biodiversity to the table at Francophonie Summit

22 October 2010 | News story

Biodiversity is on the agenda for the 70 heads of State and 3,000 delegates attending the XIII Francophonie Summit that starts today in Montreux, Switzerland.

To address the extinction crisis the world is currently facing, the Francophone countries and the International Organisation of Francophonie (OIF) have teamed up with IUCN - the world oldest and largest environmental network. The summit coincides with the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, from 18 to 29 October, to develop a plan for the next 10 years to address the current pressure on biodiversity.

“Our civilization is built on Earth’s diversity,“ says Bertrand de Montmollin, President of the IUCN Swiss National Committee. “The Francophonie Summit has a unique chance to urge decision-makers at the biodiversity talks currently underway in Japan to adapt a future plan that will ensure that cultural and natural variety will continue being a huge part of our lives.”

The Francophonie directly concerns more than 870 million people worldwide, living in 70 countries with an exceptional diversity of economic, social, cultural and biological backgrounds. Francophone countries include a wide range of environments and natural habitats: coral reefs in the Pacific and Indian Ocean, towering equatorial rainforests in Asia and Africa, tropical arid deserts and polar ice caps.

"The Francophone countries have direct responsibility for Earth’s renewable natural resources. These are an important natural capital that needs to be wisely managed and invested in, as the welfare of millions of Francophone people depend on it," notes Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN.

Key issues:

  • The Atlas of Biodiversity in the Francophonie : IUCN and IOF is launching the first-ever comprehensive analysis of the state of biodiversity in 67 countries. Present on the five continents and across all oceans, the Francophonie network encompasses 29 million km2 of land and 25 million km2 of ocean. It hosts many emblematic species, such as polar bears, gorillas, okapis, lemurs, giant turtles and tortoises, European bisons and American wapitis. The Francophonie has a direct responsibility for almost one third of the world’s wetlands, coral reefs and lagoons, and for most tropical forests in Africa and large areas in Asia and South America.
  • La Francophonie and sustainable development: This year’s summit will focus on the challenges that the loss of biodiversity, climate change and achieving food security pose on sustainable development. Delegates will discuss how the solidarity between the Francophone countries can help in mobilizing societies to overcome economic and political obstacles.
  • The International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) and IUCN signed an agreement in 2008 to work more closely together to increase awareness of the importance of the cultural and natural capital of La Francophonie and the urgent need to preserve these.

Event:
23 October: IUCN and the International Francophonie Organization (OIF) will host a round table debate on biodiversity, cultural diversity and La Francophonie”. Two publications entitled “Atlas, Biodiversité de la Francophonie, Richesses et Vulnérabilités” and “Terre Sauvage, Francophonie, les hommes au cœur de la nature” jointly developed by OIF and IUCN, will be presented at the roundtable.

IUCN will have a stand in the Village de la Francophonie featuring its work on conservation in the coastal and marine areas of West and Central Africa.

Spokespeople:
Bertrand de Montmollin, Head of the IUCN Delegation, President of the IUCN Swiss National Committee, t +41 32 725 50 24, m +41 79 220 58 93, e montmollin@biolconseils.ch
Arnaud Collin, Special Advisor to the Director General, t +41 22 999 03 06, e arnaud.collin@iucn.org
Jean-Claude Jacques, Head of the IUCN Representation to the EU, t + 32 473 74 44 10, e jean-claude.jacques@iucn.org

Media team:
Borjana Pervan, Media Relations Officer, t +41 22 999 0115, m +41 79 857 4072, e. borjana.pervan@iucn.org
Véronique Zurcher, Membership Officer, t +41 22 999 02 50, m +41 79 952 44 46, e veronique.zurcher@iucn.org