Home pageBiodiversityBiodiversity


The concept of the conservation of the biodiversity, which first made its appearance in 1985, was proposed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, then taken up by the United Nations Environment Programme (1988). It has had official status since 1992 with the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The definition of biodiversity adopted during the Convention on Biological Diversity at Rio de Janeiro, is as follows: ‘the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems’.

The protection of nature cannot be restricted to the conservation of beautiful landscapes or of organisms taken in isolation. It requires a global vision founded on the importance of the number of species in order to maintain or re-establish optimal and balanced functioning of the natural mechanisms that govern ecosystems.

The disappearance of plant or animal species, often related to the destruction of habitats, results in the irremediable loss of genetic richness, new food resources of hitherto unsuspected potential and substances of medical and industrial interest.

Each species has its place in nature and is worthy of vigilance in order to guarantee its conservation, whether it is wild, common or in danger of extinction, or indeed domesticated. For modern man, the preservation of this biological diversity constitutes a major priority that should be integrated in man’s own evolution and the development of human activities.

Although the Mediterranean only represents 0.82% of the surface of the oceans, it constitutes one of the major reserves of marine and coastal diversity: 28% of populations are constituted of endemic species, that is to say species which only live in the Mediterranean; 8 500 macroscopic species have been identified, or 7.5% of the fauna and 18% of the marine flora in the world.

The Mediterranean is one of the 34 biodiversity hotspots on the planet, as defined by the NGO International Conservation.

Links to websites:

- Convention on Biological Diversity: www.cbd.int
- Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas (RAC/SPA), specialising in the management of marine and coastal biodiversity: www.rac-spa.org
- Mediterranean Action Plan: www.unepmap.org
- Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation: www.uicnmed.org
- UN International Biodiversity Year: www.cbd.int/2010/welcome/
- World Wildlife Fund (WWF) France : www.wwf.fr