France confirms its cooperation with the world’s largest nature conservation network

Biodiversity conservation projects, set up as early as this year, in Africa, the Mediterranean and in the EU overseas entities

Primary Rainforest in central Reunion island

Alain Joyandet, French Secretary of State for Cooperation and Francophony, Chantal Jouanno, French Secretary of State for Ecology, Marie-Luce Penchard, French Secretary of State for Overseas Territories, and Jean-Michel Severino, Director General of the French Development Agency, signed a new agreement with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), represented by its Director General, Julia Marton-Lefèvre. The partnership agreement between France and IUCN, which began in 2005, has thus been renewed for another four years, thereby strengthening France’s commitment to biodiversity conservation.

This new framework agreement, worth almost 8 million euros, will support the sustainable management of biodiversity in countries in the South. The first activities, undertaken in 2009, include the strengthening of the management of protected areas in West and Central Africa, the identification of the most important parts of the Mediterranean in terms of biodiversity conservation, as well as the monitoring of the bushmeat trade and the improved protection of the wildlife in Central Africa. Actions carried out in EU overseas entities as well as activities related to the governance of the Mediterranean Sea are also envisaged.

This agreement cements France’s collaborative relationship with IUCN, an organization that was founded in Fontainebleau in 1948, and which brings together 11,000 voluntary scientists and experts, governments and non-governmental organizations worldwide. With the signing of this Agreement, France confirms its position as one of IUCN’s Strategic Partners, along with Canada, Denmark, Spain, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.

“Today’s biodiversity crisis, made worse by climate change, requires immediate global action at all levels of society. France’s continued commitment to helping IUCN guarantee the sustainable use of the resources provided by different ecosystems, particularly in countries that depend on them the most, shows that nature conservation can and should be an integral part of developed countries’ policies. In this area, the renewal of this Framework Agreement between IUCN and France will strengthen their activities in Africa, the Caribbean and in Oceania”, stated Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN.

This is a view shared by Chantal Jouanno, French Secretary of State for Ecology: “The world’s biological heritage is in danger. In 2010, France must once again raise public awareness. We shall intensify our national strategy for biodiversity conservation, and we intend to play a central role in the creation of an IPCC for biodiversity as early as 2010. We shall help the groups of experts working on this. It is a priority. As we go about our lives today, we must prepare for tomorrow.”

Marie-Luce Penchard, French Secretary of State for Overseas Territories, indicates that, in her opinion, “The biodiversity of French overseas territories is of exceptional importance at a global level. First of all, with regards the natural heritage, because most of this natural wealth is endemic to these territories, which means it is our responsibility to protect it. However, it also constitutes a potential reservoir for the local population’s economic development and welfare. Thus, we need to work together to create and enforce with determination a clear policy to ensure the sustainable protection and development of biodiversity in these overseas territories. I am delighted that IUCN’s action includes a specific section devoted to overseas entities, which will support the activities carried out by local people in these territories and develop these models of sustainable development”.

According to Alain Joyandet, French Secretary of State for Cooperation and Francophony, “the environment is our most valuable asset. Conserving it for future generations is imperative. I am totally convinced about that. It is linked to the improvement of the local inhabitants’ social and economic conditions. This is our daily challenge. So, in my opinion, our partnership with IUCN is the symbol of our collective concern and our commitment. I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the importance I attach to the creation of a scientific and political intergovernmental platform, based on the IPPC model, which will improve our knowledge and means of protecting biodiversity and ecosystems.”

Finally, according to Jean-Michel Severino, Director General of the French Development Agency, “poor countries, whose economic capital relies to a great extent on the environment, are the first victims of the erosion of their natural capital. Biodiversity conservation and the fight against poverty are inseparable and require – as we have been doing for several years now with IUCN – actions to be carried out at all levels, in collaboration with governments, civil society and the private sector”.


The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environmental and development challenges. It supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world and brings governments, non-government organizations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities together to develop and implement policy, laws and best practice.

IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network – a democratic membership union with more than 1,000 government and NGO member organizations, and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists in more than 150 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 professional staff in 60 countries and by hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world. The Union’s headquarters are located in Gland, near Geneva, in Switzerland.

A public institution, the French Development Agency (AFD) has been working for over sixty years now to combat poverty and to promote development in countries in the South and in overseas territories. It implements the development policies defined by the French Government.
Active in the field in over 50 countries, AFD finances and supports projects to improve living conditions, boost economic growth and protect the planet: getting children into school, supporting farmers and small companies, providing water supply, conserving tropical forests and combating climate change.




Media Contacts

IUCN: Borjana Pervan, +41 79 8574072;

French State Secretariat for Cooperation and Francophony: Guyonne De Montjou, +33 1 43 17 65 28

French State Secretariat for Ecology: Sabine Deroche, + 33 1 40 81 79 55;

French State Secretariat for Overseas Territories: Matthieu Béjot, +33 1 53 69 26 74

AFD: Laure Weisgerber, + 33 1 53 44 30 57;

Work area: 
Global Policy
North America
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