World Conservation Congress opens in Marseille to address ecological plight
The 7th World Conservation Congress (WCC) kicked off here on Friday, aiming to drive action on the most pressing environmental issues, including biodiversity, climate change and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, Xinhua reports.
Hosted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and France, WCC Marseille brings together experts, government officials and non-governmental actors from over 160 countries to stimulate action for nature conservation. It is a key milestone before the pivotal United Nations (UN) conferences on biodiversity and climate in China's Kunming and Britain's Glasgow later this year.
In his opening speech, IUCN President Zhang Xinsheng stressed the urgent need to address global environmental challenges and called for a nature-oriented and people-centered awakening.
A core mission of WCC Marseille and the upcoming UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP15) in Kunming is to set the post-2020 framework agenda for biodiversity.
"Our post-2020 nature and biodiversity framework must be universal, innovative and transformative. It should support a post-COVID economic recovery respecting nature, while being just and inclusive," said Zhang.
"The theme of the CBD COP15 in Kunming next month is 'Ecological Civilization -- Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth'. It is the proper segue towards what we all should seek to achieve," he added.
French President Emmanuel Macron stressed that the battle against climate change occurs hand in hand with the battle to preserve and restore biodiversity.
"One feeds the other. We are lagging behind in biodiversity and we must catch up," he said.
As the first hybrid in-person and virtual environmental event since the pandemic began, this IUCN Congress, which runs until Sept. 11, aims to enable broad participation from around the world while safeguarding the health of participants.
The IUCN is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources, with a membership of about 1,400 governmental and civil society organizations.