The GRASP Executive Committee held its annual meeting at UNESCO in Paris on 2-3 May 2019, sponsored and co-chaired by the government of France. Committee members were very pleased with the progress that GRASP has made over the last two years, overcoming funding difficulties and gaining international recognition. Among other agenda items were the situation of the Tapanuli orangutan in the Batang Toru ecosystem, strategies to further strengthen the partnership going forward, and the development of a sustainable palm oil strategy. Yann Wehrling, French Ambassador for the Environment, expressed France’s commitment to the conservation of great apes, as well as to the tropical forests that they inhabit.

During the same week, scientists and policy-makers gathered in Paris at the 7th session of the Plenary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), for the launch of the IPBES Global Assessment Report. Alongside tropical hardwood trees, sharks and big cats, the summary report for policymakers mentions great apes among the large, slowly reproducing species which are disappearing in many regions due to drivers such as land use change, over-exploitation of natural resources, climate change and pollution, among others. Through this report, scientists have issued a strong wake up call for government, private sector and citizens to engage in an unprecedented international mobilization to fight against the decline of global biodiversity.

More information on https://www.ipbes.net/news/Media-Release-Global-Assessment

The G7 Environment Ministerial Meeting (G7EMM), which took place in Metz, France, on 5-6 May 2019, provided a platform to discuss the results of the IPBES report at the highest political level. The ministerial meeting was centered around the topic “Fighting inequalities by protecting biodiversity and climate”, with two sessions focusing on concrete solutions for climate and biodiversity protection. The GRASP Coordinator Johannes Refisch was invited by the French G7 Presidency to represent GRASP at the meeting, present the partnership, and highlight its achievements and benefits, alongside the Environment Minister from Gabon. As a result of this presentation, Canada, India and Japan announced their decision to support GRASP and to complement contributions from other partners engaged with GRASP, among which France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, the European Union, Gabon, Indonesia and Norway were present at the G7EMM. GRASP was also mentioned during the press conference. This achievement represents a major milestone in gaining momentum for high-level commitment to secure a future for great apes.

More information on https://www.ecologique-solidaire.gouv.fr/communique-lissue-du-g7-environnement-metz-5-et-6-mai-2019