The French Ameri-Can Climate Talks on Biodiversity (FACT-B) Conference in Vancouver took place at UBC Robson Square on Thursday May 30.

The conference, with more than 120 attendees, members of the civil society, academics, students, and a lot of young people, highlighted the climate change effects on biodiversity, more specifically in the forests ecosystems, in a French-Canadian perspective.

After the welcoming remarks of Michael Simpson, executive director of the British Colombia Council for International Cooperation, and of Mr Philippe Sutter, Consul General of France, who underlined the initiatives of France for biodiversity and climate, moderator Marina Melanidis, from the youth organization Climate Guides, emphasized the role of the youngest generations and invited the panel on stage. The following were present :

  • Jessica Dempsey, Associate Professor, UBC Department of Geography
  • Valerie Langer, Fiber Solution Specialist at CANOPY
  • Anne Larigauderie, Executive Secretary of IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Policy)
  • Jennifer Psyllakis, Director, Wildlife and Habitat Branch, BC Ministry of Forestry, Land and Natural Resources
  • Jean-Francois Silvain, President of the Foundation for Research on Biodiversity

The two French speakers, Anne Larigauderie and Jean-François Silvain, directly arrived from the United States, where they attended two others conferences of the FACT-B series on the west coast, in San Diego and San Francisco.

Anne Larigauderie talked about the last Biodiversity Report published by the IPBES earlier in may, as the panelists insisted on the necessity to raise awareness about the erosion of biodiversity, often forgotten in the climate change debate and measures, as underlined by Jean-François Silvain.The panelists also emphasized the importance of everyone’s actions in daily life, as citizens have the power to act on their own consumption and way of life.
This mostly female panel also discussed the subject of gender issues in the question of environmental action.

After 45 minutes of round-table discussion, the public was invited to ask the speakers questions for about thirty minutes. The questions addressed to the panel were diverse and allowed for a vast and constructive debate. In this way, local issues in British Columbia and Western Canada have been further discussed. Dr Ophélie Ronce, CNRS research director and invited by the Peter Wall Institue for Advanced Studies, gave the closing remarks.

We were glad to have Marina Melanidis as moderator, and to see this many young people in the audience, proof that the younger generation take action and is committed to the environment.

The audience also had the opportunity to talk with the panelists and to meet local organizations led by young people : the British Colombia Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC), SEEDS, and Climate Guides ; during the cocktail-reception after the talk.


Photo credit : Frankie Uy

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