The expertise activity complies with sustainable development and nature conservation principles. It consists of providing scientific support to French and international stakeholders, public or private, for developing the knowledge of biodiversity which is necessary for its protection. The expertise thereby forms an interface between research, in which it is rooted, and the intentional or de facto management of nature.
A multi-faceted activity
This activity enables the Muséum to conduct its scientific activity in a continuum, from the most fundamental research to its application in the field. As a result, the teams involved see their activity enriched by close cooperation with organisations in the public and private sphere. This mission is mainly distinguished by the need to combine scientific rigour with an understanding of the issues faced by those making the request. Thanks to its ability to combine these two requirements, the Muséum lies at the heart of the national scheme and international networks for the understanding of nature.
The Muséum is a national reference centre on the natural world and has scientific responsibility for the National Inventory of Natural Heritage. This is reflected in scientific support for inventories of species and natural areas. The Muséum also digitally stores data of national interest which has been scientifically validated and is available on the Internet (inpn.mnhn.fr).
The INPN is the culmination of a long period of work involving scientists, local authorities, naturalists and nature protection associations with a view to creating an overview of the natural heritage in France. In terms of governance, the INPN has a steering committee which brings together the major national organisations involved in biodiversity knowledge and a representation of regional and local partners.
Experts and partners
The issues surrounding biodiversity lead many stakeholders to turn to the Muséum. This is reflected in multi-annual expertise conventions with Ministries and public institutions of the State, local authorities and private businesses. As well as the Ministry of Ecology, these include the Ministry of Agriculture, the French National Agency for Water and Aquatic Environments, the French Marine Protected Areas Agency, the French National Forests Agency, the Ile-de-France Regional Council, numerous departmental councils, SITA, GRTGaz, Eurovia, EDF, etc.
On an international level, the Muséum has worked closely with the European Environment Agency since 1995 and carries out scientific expertise missions for a large number of international conventions such as the Convention of Biological Diversity and CITES (also known as the Washington convention, on international trade in endangered species) for which it is France’s scientific authority.
Collective opinion research drives scientific excellence. Working together puts more skills into play, avoids any subjectivity of one single point of view and allows discussion, if need be. For complex or sensitive opinions which could lead to far-reaching ecological, economic or social decisions, this method sheds light on the debate and is based more heavily on expertise.