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A world of emergency

On January 30, 2020, WHO declared a global health emergency related to the coronavirus, following the rapid spread of the virus to several countries outside China after it was detected in patients traced from Wuhan District.

The word emergency has been used in many fields already before the current pandemic, including climate emergency, humanitarian emergency etc. Recently, a French author-journalist sounded the alarm with a book entitled "Technological Emergency - How the Surveillance Economy is Taking Advantage of the Pandemic" where he showed how communication technology has been used in several countries to trace the spread of the virus, keep people in quarantine and at the same time - rightly or wrongly - trace the movement of people. 

By definition, according to our Constitution, the state of emergency is a situation of exception, therefore not a situation intended to be permanent. However, in order to get out of it, we have to get started, apply the measures and find the means to do it.
It is on these last points that I would like to draw our attention. The example of our fight against the pandemic can be a good example of a common effort to mobilize resources and collaborate in the face of emergencies that affect the country. The government's effort to reforest 75,000 hectares per year in order to green Madagascar is a commendable initiative and should be continued. But at the same time, I consider that stopping the loss of our forests is just as urgent. This does not only concern the "dorotanety" but also the conversion of forests into other uses, strengthening their protection by protected areas and their management by existing communities. The discovery of the world's smallest reptile (a tiny chameleon with the scientific name Brokesia nana) in 2012 and published in January 2021 illustrates that our forests are still teeming with new species, unknown to science, and that there is a race against time to preserve them if we want future generations to see them again. 

The effectiveness of protected areas and community-based management in preserving our resources and the goods and services they provide is well established. But we need to give ourselves the means, in material, financial and coordination. The first forum on Natural Capital organized on March 18 and 19 saw the willingness of several ministerial sectors, private sector groups, youth, bilateral programs, NGOs and civil society to work together to preserve the valuable natural capital of Madagascar. As an aside, the value of Madagascar's natural capital represents 36% of Madagascar's total wealth, estimated at USD 152 billion in 2014. The will of all actors to move forward together exists. Madagascar is facing an unprecedented environmental emergency - let's take a leaf out of the current common struggle: total commitment of the government, strong coordination of sectors, institutions and actors, a disciplined public - the right formula is not far away. Why not start with the World Day of Biodiversity? which we will celebrate on May 22. Time is running out....