Shared concerns from La Nouvelle-Aquitaine and beyond
G7 Summit

Shared concerns from La Nouvelle-Aquitaine and beyond

As leaders gather in the coastal resort of Biarritz, Alain Rousset, president, Regional Council of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, calls on world leaders to unite in acting on climate change and other shared environmental issues on a global scale


Let’s be honest: more than outstanding, the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine is an ideal location to hold a successful G7 summit for many reasons.

First of all, the geographical diversity of our region is phenomenal. From our breathtaking mountaintops to our dreamy beaches, through our many valleys, forests, swamps and islands, Nouvelle-Aquitaine holds the very best France has to offer. And the same goes for our history, gastronomy and culture: the timeless paintings of the Lascaux caves will give you an idea of how deep our roots grow, yet Nouvelle-Aquitaine has developed, through the years, an art de vivre that is part of who we are – whether it be our world-famous wines and spirits or our beautiful churches and castles. And last but not least, our region is an ideal location thanks to our people: dynamic, positive, engaging and innovation-driven, with a strong entrepreneurial culture.

In short, welcome to France’s most beautiful and diverse region. I am sure the 2019 G7 summit will shine a new light on both our centuries-old values and our forward-looking approach.

These assets, modern and ancient, have established Nouvelle-Aquitaine as a key player in France, Europe and the world. For instance, every year, our start-ups and companies participate in high numbers at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January. Our agriculture is number one in Europe. We export France’s finest wines all over the world. The list goes on and on.

Areas in focus

While preparing for this summit, which is of the utmost importance, Nouvelle-Aquitaine brought its focus to the decisive issues of climate change, the energy transition and biodiversity. Never before have we seen so many extreme climatic events occur with such regularity; never before have we witnessed the vanishing of so many species – birds, insects, fish, mammals and plants alike. Never before have we been confronted with the threats of rising sea levels or massive climatic migrations.

In order to tackle these challenges – the highest of them all being our own survival and our capacity to adapt – our region has relied on a method that we cherish dearly: dialogue and ‘co-construction’. Indeed, we consulted with our scientists, associations and citizens to produce a thorough diagnosis. As the basis of our public action regarding climate change and the energy transition, we chose the same approach, paving the way for the leading scientific reports AcclimaTerra and Ecobiose of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, respectively studying the evolution of the climate and the biodiversity of our region. Building tirelessly for decades an ‘ecosystem of trust’ among the research field and the economy, the industry and the universities and engineering schools, I pride myself on having the best and the brightest of scientists and researchers in Nouvelle-Aquitaine.

This is the reason why, as part of our contribution to the G7 summit, our region has submitted a scientific report, multidisciplinary and precise, about our adaptation to the effects of climate change all along our coastline. Indeed, because Nouvelle-Aquitaine possesses a thousand kilometres of coastline, our region is primarily concerned by the issue. Also, the G7 summit will take place in Biarritz, facing the Atlantic Ocean, a seaside resort deeply concerned about any variations in the coastline. Only thanks to the hard work of our scientists, associations and citizens are we able to take, together, the necessary actions.

In the end, citizens of Nouvelle-Aquitaine and the rest of the world alike all breathe the same air and cherish the same future for our children. So, my firm belief is that, following the landmark 1999 Kyoto Protocol and 2015 Paris Agreement, our citizens wish world leaders to unite in acting on climate change on a global scale. And what better place to do so than in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, where grassroots campaigns and scientific diagnoses fuel our regional action, day in and day out? What better place to lead the way towards a safer future, one in which we can all believe, than in this land of tradition and hope?

As Tennyson wrote, “’Tis not too late to seek a newer world.”