Biodiversity Plan: the key points
When he appeared before the National Assembly in March, Nicolas Hulot, the Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, called for an “outburst of indignation” in the face of the erosion of biodiversity and the disappearance of many species. With this in mind, on July 4 the government unveiled its Biodiversity Plan at the first interministerial committee meeting held at the National Museum of Natural History.
After the Climate Plan, this Plan is the second pillar of Mr Hulot’s environmental policy and gives the government a genuine strategy on the protection of the natural world.
With so many important issues at stake, the Plan contains 24 medium-term objectives and no fewer than 60 actions. The Plan has two standout objectives - combating urban sprawl and eliminating plastic waste from the ocean.
The Plan is structured around 6 major themes:
- Re-establishing biodiversity in the regions and territories
- Building a pollution-free economy with little impact on biodiversity
- Protecting and restoring nature in all its facets
- Developing an ambitious European and international road map for biodiversity
- Understanding, educating and training
- Making biodiversity policies more effective
These themes are broached in the form of concrete actions such as eliminating soil degradation by 2020, eliminating 12 single-use products (straws, cotton buds, etc.) by 2025 in order to preserve marine resources, creating an 11th national park, extending nature reserves and raising awareness, particularly among children by way of nature lessons.
The Plan contains a certain number of measures pertaining to agriculture, including stepping up the fight against pesticides by eliminating the use of glyphosate. It also outlines a new system under which farmers are paid for providing environmental services such as preserving meadows, re-establishing hedges in arable plains and restoring ponds.
Edouard Philippe, the prime minister, believes that this Biodiversity Plan enables France “to trigger a global movement comparable with the one it started in relation to the Paris Agreement on climate change”, ahead of COP 23 on biodiversity, which will take place in China in 2020.
However, some NGOs (including the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and France Nature Environnement) have already described the Plan as insufficient, unambitious and vague in terms of how it will help protect biodiversity.