Last month, the BNP Paribas Foundation launched a new call for projects to improve knowledge about the interactions between climate and biodiversity, and their heavy consequences on human societies. With a 6 million euros budget, the Climate & Biodiversity Initiative program will support 6 to 8 scientific research projects from 2020 to 2022.
Why addressing the issue of biodiversity?
First, because the erosion of biodiversity is, along with climate change, a major challenge of our time. Indeed, the current situation is alarming: every 20 minutes, an animal or plant species disappears, representing more than 26 000 species each year. In addition, it is now necessary to address global warming by taking into account the erosion of biodiversity, as these two issues are closely interconnected.
As demonstrated by 11 of the 18 projects supported by the BNP Paribas Foundation (for example INVACOST led by Franck Courchamp, SENSEI led by Christophe Barbraud or SoCa, led by Lydie Lardy), climate change, acting in synergy with the degradation of soils and population growth, accelerates the loss of biodiversity. But the converse is also true, since degraded ecosystems have reduced CO2 assimilation and storage capacities, thus accelerating the processes linked to climate change. As a result, humanity today has the global responsibility to face both these challenges and their interactions.
In addition, the issue of preserving biodiversity is today at the heart of public policies and intergovernmental debates, evidenced by the creation in 2012 of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services(IPBES), the IPCC of biodiversity.
This decision is also in line with the positioning of the BNP Paribas Group, which has notably committed to the act4natureinitiative launched in 2018, for the protection and restoration of biodiversity, as well as the consideration by the media and the public opinion of this subject.
A selective call for projects
The Climate & Biodiversity Initiative call for projects will consist of three stages for the whole of 2019:
- February 11th - April 28th, 2019: Application, the project coordinators submit their application file on the online platform dedicated to the call for projects.
- May 1st - July 31st, 2019: Analysis of applications and pre-selection by qualified BNP Paribas employees and external experts.
- September 2nd - end of December 2019: Analysis of the pre-selected application files and selection of the finalist projects by the Scientific committee, then nomination of the laureates by the Executive Committee.
The Climate & Biodiversity Initiative program
Since 2010, the BNP Paribas Foundation has been supporting environmental research on climate change through this program, previously known as the Climate Initiative, with a total budget of 12 million euros.
Since the creation of the program, 324 researchers, professors and engineers have benefited from this action, while 340,000 people have been made aware of environmental issues through conferences, exhibitions and other public events.
Through the different calls for projects taking place every 3 years, 18 research projects have been funded and promoted by the BNP Paribas Foundation. 2019 is the year of the official launch of the 4th call for projects, and the Foundation decided to open it to the field of biodiversity. That's why the program was renamed Climate and Biodiversity Initiative.
Franck Courchamp, laureate of the program in 2013 and member of the Scientific committee of the BNP Paribas Foundation, underlines the importance of this action for researchers and our societies:
"While climate change and biodiversity loss are certainly the two greatest challenges for humankind, this program manages to be up to the task, not only because it supports research projects that will make a difference, but also because the sums and flexibility of these funds allow researchers to work in the best conditions."