French government tables nature law

The French government has proposed a new biodiversity law that will introduce priority zones to protect areas where species are at risk, and ecological corridors to preserve the natural continuity of stretches of land.

The law tabled on Thursday will establish a new biodiversity agency, in which four existing institutions will be merged.

It will also regulate access to genetic resources and the sharing of the benefits arising from their use, introducing into law the third objective of the 2010 Nagoya Protocol.

The draft goes for its first reading before the lower house of parliament on Monday.

The legislation is of particular importance to France due to the biological diversity of its overseas territories and because it has the second largest maritime space in the world.

The most recent law for the protection of nature in France dates from 40 years ago.

NGOs welcomed the new law but stressed that it’s effectiveness would depend on enough resources being made available to the new national biodiversity agency.

WWF called for more complete adoption of the Nagoya Protocol in particular the consultation of overseas local communities in any use of native genetic resources.

The draft legislation is expected to go to the upper house of parliament in the summer, and subsequently back to the lower house. The government’s objective is to have the bill formalised before the end of the year so the new agency can be in place by 1 January 2016.

Excerpted from ENDS Europe DAILY