Search By Topic


Scientists and Stakeholders Meet to Design Pathways for Biodiversity in France

Scientists and Stakeholders Meet to Design Pathways for Biodiversity in France

Scientists, policy-makers and private sector actors meet in a two-day workshop to co-create pathways towards reaching SDGs in France.

The Science-Based Pathways for Sustainability initiative convened the first in a series of three pilot workshops in France on 3 to 4 October 2019. The workshop was designed and organized by the Science Committee comprising of members from French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), BiodivERsA, French Foundation for Biodiversity Research (FRB) and Future Earth.

Throughout the two days, a group of 20 scientists, policymakers, private sector actors and NGO representatives co-designed scenarios and pathways on biodiversity protection and restoration in France, while taking into account synergies and trade-offs across all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “Zero net loss of biodiversity”, which is the umbrella objective of the French national law on biodiversity (loi pour la reconquête de la biodiversité, de la nature et des paysages) was initially suggested as the overarching workshop goal for 2030. The achievement of this ambitious national goal is still uncertain, which provided the workshop with additional relevance and urgency. 

During the workshop, participants agreed to adjust the overarching goal from “no net loss of biodiversity” to “bending the curve of biodiversity loss”, which was seen as more relevant and scientifically correct for the co-creation of national scenarios and pathways.

Applying an approach based on scenario development, the Pathways initiative focuses on three core elements: using various tools to develop participatory scenarios, systematically addressing interactions among the many Sustainable Development Goals, and analysing transformations to reach the overall objective. As a first step, participants discussed the impacts of national policy strategies around cities, agriculture, climate and energy on the implementation of the biodiversity goal. Building on that, the implications of the biodiversity strategy on oceans, freshwater, and inequalities were explored.

The workshop participants also outlined a set of three deep societal transformations that will be needed to achieve the objective of ‘zero net loss of biodiversity’ in France while accounting for synergies and trade-offs with cities, dietary regimes, agriculture, energy, climate change, freshwater, oceans and inequalities. The three transformations were defined as ‘reconnecting people with nature’, ‘halting land take for infrastructure and housing’, and ‘finding new modes of sobriety.’ 

These discussions were complemented by a first analysis of international interactions with other countries and world regions as well as the Convention of Biological Diversity’s post-2020 framework on biodiversity.

The workshop succeeded in bringing together a high diversity of participants from science (CNRS, INRA, IDDRI, Univ Rennes, Université Paris Sud, IRD, AgroParisTech, ENS, Tour du Valat), policymaking (French biodiversity agency AFB, Ministry of Environment MTES), finance (the French public investment bank CDC Biodiversité), non-governmental organizations (France Nature Environnement), the public sector (Regional French Biodiversity Agency ARB), and the private sector (the national energy provider EDF, Suez Eau France).

Future Earth will now work with the participants on a range of different publications and hold sessions on its outcomes at international conferences such as the World Biodiversity Forum and the SRI2020 conference. The next workshop in the series of the Science-Based Pathways for Sustainability events in France will be a workshop on freshwater, to be held on 19-20 November 2019 in Rennes.