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French president announces moves to protect biodiversity

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French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday announced initiatives to protect biodiversity and the environment, following the publication of landmark UN report on the state of the natural world.

[PARIS] French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday announced initiatives to protect biodiversity and the environment, following the publication of landmark UN report on the state of the natural world.

"What is at stake is the very possibility of having a habitable Earth," Macron said after meeting in Paris with experts of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) which produced the report.

A million species are on the brink of extinction and relentless plundering and poisoning of Earth's bounty -- water, wildlife, air, soil and forests -- threaten societies at least as much as climate change, a team of 450 experts found.

"Biodiversity is as important a subject as climate change and we can't win this battle without working all the levers," Macron, said, championing a series of green initiatives.

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In the battle against food waste "we must profoundly change our models by fighting even more actively against food waste everywhere in the economy", especially when it came to schools, restaurants and retailers, he said.

Macron also called for a change in food production methods, complaining that current methods are "not consistent with the awareness" we now have, citing the continued use of the pesticide glyphosate.

He reaffirmed France's objective of reducing the use of chemical pesticides by 50 per cent by 2025.

Macron also said he wants to increase the proportion of marine and terrestrial protected areas to 30 per cent by 2022, from 20 per cent currently

The French president said he plans to beef up the fight against farmland being given over to construction.

"I have asked for a report to set goals... for the rehabilitation of agricultural land which has been degraded by past use of chemical products," he said.

Macron announced a review of fiscal and budgetary aid to advance these objectives.

 

AFP