5 June is World Environment Day, a celebration initiated by the United Nations which has been marked every year since 1974. Is it important to dedicate a day to the environment at a global level?
As the minister whose portfolio includes the environment, I support this initiative, all the more so since it has a global dimension and brings us together around a single theme each year. There are many issues which require not only decisive political action but also collective awareness and personal commitment – issues such as safeguarding biodiversity, the energy transition and how to manage resources.
What do you think about this year’s chosen theme: biodiversity and “time for nature”?
It is vital to draw the attention of as many people as possible to this issue of biodiversity, which we too often ignore. World Environment Day invites us to do this and I welcome that. Safeguarding species is a priority. In the most recent version of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) global Red List, out of 116,000 species studied, more than 31,000 are classed as endangered. Among these species, 41% of amphibians, 14% of birds and 25% of mammals are facing the threat of extinction at the global level. This is also the case for 30% of sharks and rays, 33% of reef-building corals and 34% of conifers. We are also aware of the major role played by pollinators such as bees in our food chain. According to the Union Nationale des Apicultures Français (UNAF, French National Union of Beekeepers), of the 100 most commonly grown food crops in the world, 71 are pollinated uniquely by bees, which are under increasing threat.
Could you say a few words about the Principality’s policy to promote biodiversity?
A lot of work is being done to promote biodiversity in the Principality through inventory, mapping and monitoring programmes for marine and land-based plants and wildlife, as well as actions to safeguard species and ecosystems. We are currently working with the Department of the Environment to implement a National Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. Our objectives are to strengthen the place of nature in the city to improve quality of life and adapt our country to climate change (improving air quality, combatting heat islands and developing fresh, welcoming spaces). This is an important programme which we will pursue with determination. As H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince reminded us in his message to mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day: “The human frailty we are seeing should lead us to think about our priorities, at the top of which should be reinventing our relationship with nature.”