Reunion Island Becomes a Reference in Defense of Biodiversity

During the 3rd Conference on the Climate and Biodiversity held on December 8, a hybrid event between face-to-face and online participants. It became clear that Reunion Island was becoming a reference in terms of biodiversity protection.  At the same opening of the meeting, which had the support of ORU-Fogar, Regions4 and R-20, the president of the French sovereign region of the Indian Ocean, Didier Robert, explained that the bet in favor of the environment by the regional council was unavoidable because "the islands are the first sentinels in the fight against climate change”.

“The fight against climate change or against drought”, mentioned President Robert, “the defense of biodiversity, food security, the fight against poverty or good waste management, in our case, are part of the same work”. Therefore, he was in favor of fighting for the conciliation between economy and ecological impact. "Our bet”, he claimed, “is in favor of sustainable development". Thus, he declared that in 2023, Reunion Island will run almost fossil fuels free, he then proceeded to explain the project of sustainable transport within the island and its commitment to a blue economy respectful of the marine heritage.

With a large number of participants from the neighboring islands of Reunion, such as the Comoros, Mauritius, Seychelles and Madagascar, but also various European speakers, all the participants agreed on the urgency to act in the fight against climate change. Réunion MEP Stéphane Bijoux, for example, stated: "The signs of climate change are already here, they do not respect borders, and, in this part of the world, it is manifested by drought and lack of water. This is a threat that we already noticed, but which is really global". Therefore, he defended the European Green Deal and the need for the collaboration of all actors.  

The conference was an opportunity to present the Regional Biodiversity Agency of Reunion Island, a wager of President Robert, which takes advantage of French legislation. Thus, the agency aims at a coordinated management that enables congruence with economic activities, and particularly agriculture ones, with the preservation of protected areas and the protection of the numerous unique and threatened species of the island.

During the conference, various interventions allowed attendees to become aware of how various threats put the island's ecosystems at risk. Thus, it was explained that, despite the fact that the forests and the territory are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the danger of invasive species was very great. Thus, the Agency must allow the restoration of degraded habitats, as well as curbing invasive species. The regional agencies for biodiversity of Île de France, Occitanie, Guadeloupe and Mayotte were also presented at the conference.

The conference was attended by ORU-Fogar President Abdessamad Sekkal, Regions4 Secretary General Iñaki Susaeta and R-20 President Magnus Berntsson. President Sekkal, defended the need for regions to participate in global discussions, considering that the regions are the ones who best know the environmental impacts on the territory. Iñaki Susaeta defended, as part of the solution, having leading regions like Réunion in the fight for biodiversity.

 

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