A large proportion of the activity of the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle takes place beyond our borders (even as far away as Mars), based around the institution’s 5 major missions. It has a wide global reach and maintains long-term relationships with a large number of other Muséums and research centres, including in developing countries. The Muséum’s international work is coordinated by the European and international relations organisations.
The World, one of the Muséum’s laboratories
Since the Muséum was created, the world has been its prime field of study. From the very first specimens brought back by the travelling naturalists in the 17th and 18th centuries to the samples collected today around the world (particularly thanks to the naturalist expedition programme "Our Planet Reviewed"), the Muséum’s researchers have assembled one of the most fabulous collections of plant, animal, mineral and fossil specimens and ethnographic and anthropological objects. The Muséum has therefore become a facility of global importance, particularly thanks to its number of type specimens. The digitisation of all of these collections means they are now available to the international scientific community.
Even today, every year, over a thousand field missions cover a large proportion of land surfaces on every continent, as well as the oceans and the North and South Poles.
Learning more about the Earth, its habitats and its inhabitants
Although the Muséum’s researchers regularly publish in the major scientific journals around the world, the establishment also publishes its own works, which are disseminated worldwide (Publications scientifiques du Muséum).
A lot of research is carried out with other foreign teams in every field. The Muséum therefore has almost a hundred collaboration agreements with other Muséums, universities and research laboratories.
Two priority countries have been identified for developing programmes and partnerships: Madagascar and Brazil. You can download the brochures from the bottom of the page.
Teaching the World
Thousands of hours of classes are taught in leading world-class universities as well as those in developing countries and every year the Muséum welcomes about 30% of its students from abroad (see Education & Training (French only)).
Sharing knowledge with other human beings
The exhibitions produced by the Muséum circulate throughout the world and are often considered as setting the standard in the field. Several of the world’s largest Muséums come in search of its outstanding expertise or to attend training sessions in museology (including some sixty Chinese in the past three years).
Preserving and managing our planet
In view of of its scientific expertise and field of exploration, the Muséum cannot sit idly by in the face of the challenges of preserving biological diversity. That is why it hosted the first world nature conservation conference in 1924. After the war, it was one of the drivers behind the creation of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (UICN) and several of its professors have presided over this organisation (including Roger Heim and Jean Dorst). Today it hosts its French Committee.
It contributes to the study of the impact of climate change. You can download the brochure from the bottom of the page.
The Muséum has played and continues to play an important role in the discussion and implementation of international Conventions concerning the conservation and sustainable management of biological diversity. It is the French scientific authority for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (Washington Convention or CITES), the Convention on Migratory Species (Bonn Convention), the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention) and the Convention on Protection of Wetlands (Ramsar Convention). It also contributes to the World Heritage Convention (UNESCO) and the Great Apes partnership.
The Muséum is an important player for the Convention on Biological Diversity. It is also one of the French focal points of the technical and scientific body (and represents Europe in this body’s committee). It is also a French focal point for several subjects (Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, Global Taxonomy Initiative and indigenous peoples). It participates in every global meeting and a large number of expert groups. The Muséum is also responsible for the "Mécanisme français du Centre d’échanges" (French Clearing House Mechanism) which is the information portal on biodiversity in France. It is one of the founders of the Consortium of Scientific Partners on Biodiversity.
The Muséum played a significant role in the global negotiations for the Nagoya protocol on the use of genetic resources and is currently helping a large number of countries to implement it.
It participates in international programmes for safeguarding species and actively collaborates with the Botanic Gardens Conservation International network, The Global Partnership for Plant Conservation and the Global Invasive Alien Species Information Partnership.
In recent years, the Muséum has become more and more involved in conservation projects, in particular the establishment of protected areas and the setting up of eco-tourism programmes (in Madagascar and Uganda).