On 11 January 2021, President Charles Michel made following remark.
Thank you for this initiative which is essential. Because putting biodiversity at the heart of the project is actually ensuring that we all work together, in international cooperation, to protect our environment and to collectively protect our health. Just a few points for me.
First point. We all know, and COVID-19 has brutally brought to light the link between biodiversity loss and zoonotic development. And we know how difficult it can be to traffic in animals or the trade in wild animals. We know that there are 1.6 million undetected viruses in the wild, which are probably linked to this transmission between the human species and animals.
The first point therefore touches on the forest and the importance of not losing sight of the importance that 30% of the earth’s surface is covered by forests, representing 80% of our biodiversity. That is why there is a major issue. I welcome the French initiatives on the subject, but also all the countries that are also mobilized to work on alliances in order to mobilize protections of the forest and sustainable management of the forest.
And there is certainly a role in the European framework that is essential to the international development cooperation package. The European Union is a committed player in this field, in particular to try to better develop and support health systems, on the one hand. It is a goal that we all share. And on the other hand, there is this issue, especially in Africa but not only in forest management.
The European Union must also be engaged on our own territory. That is what we are doing as part of The 2030 Strategy, as we are committed to strictly protecting primary forests. We are also committed to planting 3 billion trees by 2030, which is also an important commitment, which gives an essential signal. We must also continue to develop areas that are protected areas.
Two more points quickly. We must continue to work, as is the case today, to increase political engagement and awareness of what this issue is important. Others have said it before me, I’m not going to be too detailed about that. Of course, Aichi’s 20 goals – and we are far from that – must be the compass in which we must work.
And then, one last point that I would like to make by taking advantage of this forum once again. I have had the opportunity to express this already, in the G20 and in other bilateral meetings with each other: it is this idea of an international treaty to prevent pandemics and to manage pandemics when confronted with them. To learn the lessons of this COVID-19, exchange data, exchange information. I also had the opportunity to talk extensively with Tedros Ghebreyesus, and I thank him for his full commitment on the subject as well. I also spoke to Boris Johnson in the context of the G7 Presidency, which is also ready to be mobilised because certainly there is an additional lever to take intelligent actions, actions in the spirit of international cooperation, and that would allow us to learn from this crisis that is hitting the world, COVID-19
Those are the few things I wanted to share with you. Once again, thank you to all the friends present, mobilized. Thank you to France and its president for this initiative. And you can count on the work of the European Union to try to take positive steps in order to be part of cooperation to meet this challenge together.
Source: Intervention du président Charles Michel lors du One Planet Summit Biodiversité – Consilium (europa.eu)
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/photos/earth-planet-atmosphere-space-2113656/