Pascal Lamy and Geneviève Pons – For the last sixty years France has been a world leader when it comes to protecting the Antarctic – and it should for the next sixty too…
Ocean Unite is working to unite and activate powerful voices for ocean conservation. Pascal Lamy and Geneviève Pons and Ocean Unite network members and below they share why France can, and must, help build global solidarity and action.
We learn from the past in order to plan better for the future. Our present is defined by the dramatic climate crisis and biodiversity loss. The future must be transformative change in response to these high risks. States need to take assertive action for the sake of the planet, and all life. France continues to demonstrate this through its continued leadership on Antarctic and Southern Ocean protection.
Antarctica is an ice and snow desert. Its ice contains 70 per cent of the planet’s fresh water and the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica teems with marine life such as corals, crabs, whales, seals and penguins. Microscopic algae and crustaceans – krill – serve as food for an entire ecosystem, which in turn fuels the ocean globally.
The ocean produces between 50 and 80 per cent of the oxygen we breathe, and absorbs more than 25 per cent of the carbon dioxide we emit. The ocean is one of the main ecosystems on which all life on the planet depends. But climate crisis and biodiversity loss are putting the Southern Ocean and Antarctica under severe stress. The continent’s ice sheets are melting which is impacting local and global marine ecosystems.
In 1959, France was an original signatory of the Antarctic Treaty, a pioneering agreement that, at the height of the Cold War, set Antarctica aside for peace and the promotion of science. And then again in 1982, France was also a founding member of Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR.)
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cover image from Getty Images