IUCN - A world premiere: Biodiversity across five continents

A world premiere: Biodiversity across five continents

20 October 2010 | News story

For the first time the status of biodiversity in the Francophonie has been evaluated. With the occasion of the International Year of Biodiversity, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF) have published in French and English a concise analysis of the status of terrestrial and marine biodiversity across the 70 states and governments of the Francophonie.

“This is the first time that an analysis of this kind has been completed, the atlas highlights the immense wealth of biodiversity to be found across the Francophonie and the threats that they face. We hope this atlas will continue to evolve.” Jean-Claude Jacques, IUCN.

The states and governments of the Francophonie can be found on five continents and in all of the world’s seas, they cover a combined land area of 29 million km2 (almost 20% of the Earth’s surface) and 25 million km2 of sea (7% of the oceans’ surface). They include a dozen biodiversity hotspots, 250 terrestrial ecoregions and 70 marine ecoregions. They have a direct responsibility for close to one third of the planet’s wetlands, coral reefs and atolls, as well as the last remaining large forest block in Africa and a significant part of Asian and South American tropical forests.

The island nature of many Francophone states translates into a high level of endemism in closed areas that are highly vulnerable to anthropogenic pressures, invasive species, and climate change. Conservation of this irreplaceable genetic heritage is one of the formidable challenges of this century.

The Atlas shows the exceptional biodiversity that the Francophonie harbours, including emblematic species such as gorillas, polar bears, okapis, large terrestrial and marine turtles, etc.  The importance of biodiversity for the continued survival of indigenous communities present in the Francophonie (such as the Pygmies of Central Africa and Amerindians in Canada and French Guyana) is crucial as they continue to rely to a large extent on ecosystem services for their subsistence.

The atlas also provides a series of suggestions for future actions, to the international community, the Francophonie, and its member and observer States and governments. The global recommendations include:

  1. For the 20th anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit in 2012, produce a World Biodiversity Atlas ;
  2. Put the International Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services – IPBES into operation assoon as possible;
  3. Improve and align the definition and delimitation of ecoregions and ecozones;
  4. Update the World Database on Protected Areas; and
  5. Promote the emergence of funding mechanisms for the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

The atlas will be officially launched on 23 October 2010 at the Francophonie Summit in Montreux (Switzerland) and on 27 October 2010 at the Tenth Conference of the Parties (COP10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya (Japan).

For more information please contact:

IUCN European Union Representative Office
Laura Baroni
laura.baroni@iucn.org
Tel : 00 32 2 739 30 04

Jean-Claude Jacques
Jean-claude.jacques@iucn.org
Tel : 00 32 473 74 44 10

Institut de l’Energie et de l’Environnement de la Francophonie
Rajae Chafil
r.chafil@iepf.org
Tel: 00 1 418 692 57 27 poste 241