France adopts its first “polar strategy” by 2030

France on Tuesday adopted its first “polar strategy”, which sets out its geopolitical and environmental objectives for the Arctic and Antarctica by 2030, and to address the shortcomings of its scientific research in these important areas for the future of the planet. Needed.

This strategy, validated by Prime Minister Jean Castex, was presented at the Quai d’Orsay by the Poles appointed to this position in the fall of 2020 and the Ambassador for Maritime Issues.

This is a “first in the history of our country”, welcomed the Ambassador during the presentation of his roadmap. The latter seeks to be “at the service of European and international cooperation” at the North and South Poles, where the country manages scientific research programs and infrastructure.

France wants to “strongly reinvest the scientific field” in the Arctic, threatened by climate change, and now by “geopolitical change” with the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which currently chairs the Arctic Council, according to the document. .

The text also serves to protect the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 (54 signatory states), which makes the White Continent a “land of peace and science”.

To preserve biodiversity there, France “will continue to ask Russia and China to adopt the creation of two marine protected areas”, where both countries refuse to ban fishing there.

The document points to a “significant imbalance” in the budget devoted to the Poles compared to other countries such as Germany, the United Kingdom or the United States.

To overcome this “detachment”, there are plans to centralize budgetary management by the “Inter-Ministerial Council for the Seas and the Poles”. The financial commitment includes an envelope of between 400 and 700 million euros over eight years, against an annual budget of approximately 30 million euros per year at present. The 300 million euro difference will essentially depend on whether the icebreaker is purchased or not.

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“It’s a lot higher than it is today, but it’s less than other international players,” said Olivier Poivre d’Arver.

French base Dumont d’Urville at Adélie Land in Antarctica on November 8, 2008 (AFP/Archives -)

Resources will be invested notably in the renovation of the Antarctic stations Dumont-d’Urville (between 60 and 66 million euros) and Concordia (15 million euros), which France co-manages with Italy.

The Paul-एmile Victor Polar Institute (IPEV), which manages scientific logistics at the poles from France and which the report describes as “vulnerable” to a lack of resources, should see an increase in the number of scientists in both hemispheres. .

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