Planet in peril: Global conservation congress urges wildlife protection

When the world's leading conservation congress kicks off Friday in the French port city of Marseille it will aim to deliver one key message: protecting wildlife must not be seen as a noble gesture but an absolute necessity -- for people and the planet.

Loss of biodiversity, climate change, pollution, diseases spreading from the wild have become existential threats that cannot be "understood or addressed in isolation," the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said ahead of the meeting in a vision statement endorsed by its 1,400 members.

Over nine days, government ministries, indigenous groups and NGOs -- backed by a network of 16,000 scientists -- will hammer out conservation proposals that could help set the agenda at critical upcoming UN summits on food systems, biodiversity and climate change.

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