The “One Planet Polar” summit took place from November 8-10, 2023, in Paris. It was the first international summit dedicated to glaciers and the poles. The aim of the event was to strengthen international co-operation to preserve the cryosphere,* as well as glacial and polar biodiversity. The event brought together the major players in the international scientific community.
After the summit, the French President, Emmanuel Macron, highlighted the main international ambitions to which France will contribute:
- Alongside countries such as Germany, Australia, India and Italy, a major research program on Antarctica will be set up. The main aim of this project is to understand ice-ocean interactions.
- France will be a partner of the “Ocean Rise and Resilience” coalition, a major international movement to mobilize in the face of rising sea levels.
- The French government also intends to help protect the most endangered natural areas, such as the poles and glaciers. The French President also wishes to put an end to the prospect of deep-sea mining. Twenty-three states also support the idea of a precautionary pause and a moratorium.
In this context, the French President unveiled two major commitments from France:
- Investment of €1 million in polar research over the next six years. This decision is part of the “Horizon 2030” plan and endorses France’s polar strategy, led by the ambassador responsible for the poles and maritime issues.
- The construction of an “ice-capable” vessel, able to navigate in icy areas. Designed to divide its research missions between the western Pacific and Antarctica, it will be based between Nouméa, New Caledonia, and Hobart, Australia.
In addition, the French President spoke of his wish to place 100% of French glaciers under the status of “strongly protected” areas. At present, 60% of them already have this status.
The rate of international ice melt has increased exponentially over the last 30 years. The United Nations (UN), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and France are warning that the ice in the Arctic and Antarctic is melting. This situation is a challenge that warrants immediate action by the international community. A second summit will be held in 2024 to pursue the course of research and preservation of polar biodiversity.
* Cryosphere: All the ice on the surface of the Earth (pack ice, glaciers, etc.).
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