Speech by President Charles Michel at the World Conservation Congress of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

I want to join in the thanks which were addressed to France, to the mayor of Marseille, and then to the organization of this congress which is an essential moment. Because, as we can see, our generation is facing a turning point. And the first requirement is to trust science, in explorers, in order to make the right choices, to take the right decisions. Some time ago, it was two years ago in December, the 27 European heads of state and government took a strong, clean and clear first decision which, only a few months before, was considered by many as impossible: we have decided to make Europe the first climate neutral continent. And we can see, the French President has indicated, others have said, that the battle for the climate, the battle for biodiversity, is in fact the same battle. And it is the same determination that must drive us at European level. And I want to underline the clarity of the commitments made a few moments ago before you by the Greek Prime Minister, which clearly shows that things are moving, that things are accelerating. So some very concrete points… The oceans, the forests, they are the lungs for our humanity. The oceans, let’s be totally determined, we started doing it by banning single-use plastic. This is the next issue on the table: how can we ban plastic from the oceans? Another extremely important commitment: to increase the volumes of areas that are protected and also to be clear about the conditions: what does it mean when areas are protected? And there, we know to what extent the poles play a key role in climatic terms: Antarctica and Arctic. Regarding Antarctica, we are very clear: the European Union wishes to extend protected areas around Antarctica. And when it comes to the Arctic, we are also very clear: we believe that we must ensure that transport is sustainable, taking into account the criteria of respect for our shared humanity, for our collective humanity. Finally, in a word still very simply: we will have the opportunity, in the coming weeks, in the coming months, with great determination in the implementation of this “Green Deal”, this European green pact, of be mobilized to ensure that biodiversity is at the heart of our project, at the heart of our ambition, at the heart of our determination. And Europe, certainly, has a role of locomotive to play in showing the way and in taking action. volume_upcontent_copysharestar_border

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