Prince Albert has addressed world leaders at the One Planet Summit in France’s capital, saying that the preservation of seas and forests is the preservation of humanity.
Prince Albert was in Paris for the One Planet Summit on Monday, organised by France and hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron. The environmental action meeting brought together more than 30 heads of state, government officials and leaders of international organisations, some via video conference, to discuss strategic plans and programmes in place or under development to protect the planet.
During the session dedicated to the protection of marine and terrestrial areas, Prince Albert highlighted the two initiatives developed in the Mediterranean with the support of his Foundation: the MedFund, dedicated to the preservation of marine protected areas, and Beyond Plastic Med – BeMed, which focusses on the fight against plastic pollution.
“To act for the preservation of the seas and forests is to act for the survival of humanity,” said the Prince.
President Emmanuel Macron announced that the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, which was launched in 2019 by Costa Rica, France and Britain to set a target of protecting at least 30% of the planet by 2030, has now been joined by 50 countries.
The UK’s Prince Charles made an “urgent appeal” for private sector leaders to back the Terra Carta, or Earth Charter, which encourages businesses to get on track with sustainability and eco-friendly practices.
But the enthusiasm shown by leaders was slightly underscored by the challenge of how all these projects would be realised financially. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said there was a deficit of €5.85 billion per year for projects that are trying to meet biodiversity targets by 2030.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has committed £3 billion (€3.35 billion) to climate change programmes and Canada’s Justin Trudeau offered $55 million (€45.26 million) to the UN Land Degradation Neutrality Fund.
President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen pledged that the EU would devote “several hundred million euros” to research pertaining to biodiversity, animals and health, adding that the EU will be introducing new laws to restrict products harmful to the environment by the end of the year.
The one-day summit focused on four major topics: protecting terrestrial and marine ecosystems; promoting agroecology, a more sustainable way to grow food; increasing funding to protect biodiversity; and identifying links between deforestation and the health of humans and animals.
A side conference on Monday focused on investment for Africa’s Great Green Wall project, which involves efforts to stop the Sahara Desert from spreading further south. Launched in 2007, it aims to plant an arc of trees running 7,000 kilometres across Africa — from Senegal along the Atlantic all the way to Djibouti on the Gulf of Aden.
Another initiative involves a new coalition of Mediterranean countries working to better protect the sea from pollution and overfishing.
Photo source: Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation