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First towns and villages to win financial support for producing Local Biodiversity Atlases announced.

Paris, 17 May 2013 – Within the framework of the Fonds de Soutien aux Atlas de la Biodiversité Communale (support fund for producing local atlases of biodiversity – a local decision-making tool for towns and villages that factors in issues to do with biodiversity), the Fonds de Dotation pour la Biodiversité (endowment fund for biodiversity) has just announced the list of towns and villages that have been selected as part of the first call for applicants. An important event that involves local authorities mobilizing as part of a drive to promote local biodiversity.

This tool is the result of work carried out jointly by elected representatives, environmental protection bodies, scientists and government departments, and has two aims:

  • raise the awareness of elected representatives and society as a whole in relation to issues to do with biodiversity on the one hand,
  • and on the other hand, identify challenges associated with biodiversity within the towns and villages in question, in particular by improving local knowledge.

Award ceremony Local Biodiversity Atlases

This new knowledge can then be used by towns and villages and inter-municipal bodies to inform their urban development decisions. It can also be accumulated on different scales, thus helping to define, track and assess government initiatives. The initial aim was to support a first batch of towns and villages to help them to produce their own biodiversity atlas. Between 2010 and 2012, 287 towns and villages therefore committed to the scheme.

To contribute to the government's biodiversity atlas for towns and villages, the biodiversity endowment fund has joined forces with its company partners to launch a support fund for producing them. The simple aim is to help towns and villages that have been selected by government bodies to:

  • Get technical and educational support so that they can involve services and citizens
  • Answer a call for applications in order to secure co-funding (of between €2000 and €5000) in order to carry out additional inventories.

Officially launched on 21 November 2012 at the French Mayors' Convention, the biodiversity atlas support fund gets money from major companies which want to play a role in protecting biodiversity. GRTgaz was the first company to sponsor the initiative.

The town and village selection panel is made up of government representatives, as well as representatives from the "Eco-Maires" and "Humanité & Biodiversité" associations and sponsors of the biodiversity endowment fund.

Auxi-le-Château, Buire-au-Bois, Crépy-en-Valois, Four, Gruffy, La Couronne, Landos, Langeac, Lamure-sur-Azergues, Loperhet, Plérin-sur-Mer, Saint-Laurent-Blangy, Volvic and Willencourt are the 14 towns and villages that were chosen.

The panel paid particular tribute to La Couronne for its whole strategy for factoring in issues to do with biodiversity across the area that it occupies. La Couronne signed up to the United Nations' Agenda 21 action plan in 2009 and then had its biodiversity atlas officially approved by the Ministry in 2010. Its project to factor in biodiversity atlas data into its management of the area that it occupies is a step along the path towards a form of more measured urban development that sets out to protect biodiversity – something that also enhances the appeal of a region.

An event to be watched with the next relaunch of the process by the Ministry for Sustainable Development between now and the next Environmental Conference in September 2013. In autumn 2013, a second call for applications for the biodiversity atlas support fund will be issued by the biodiversity endowment fund.