Protecting biological diversity
Biodiversity loss is a global problem. The international community set itself the goal of substantially reducing the loss of biodiversity by 2010. Indeed, the European Union went a step further, aiming to stop biodiversity loss completely. Sadly, it is now very clear that neither of these targets will be met.
Biodiversity is crucial for humankind's survival, for it safeguards our food supply and meets many of our basic needs. It provides us with renewable resources and plays a vital role in controlling air pollution and protecting soil fertility and water resources.
Conserving biodiversity – a Green issue!
Alliance 90/The Greens stand for policies and social attitudes that recognise the vital importance of protecting and sustainably managing our natural life support systems. We aim not only to conserve the natural environment as the basis of human life; we also aim to do so for its own sake and for the benefit of future generations.
We want the conservation of biodiversity to be put at the very top of the political agenda, both nationally and internationally. The reasons for the failure to meet the 2010 goal must be rigorously analysed so that new biodiversity conservation targets have a real prospect of success.
Species protection – a cross-cutting task
The conservation of biodiversity is a cross-cutting task which must be mainstreamed in all policy areas. Protecting individual species is not enough to conserve biodiversity as a whole. Agricultural, forestry and fisheries policy has a particular impact on species diversity and so these policy areas must be geared much more strongly towards its conservation.
Biodiversity conservation and climate change mitigation are intrinsically linked and require common solutions. On the one hand, alongside the direct destruction of ecosystems, climate change is one of the main threats to biodiversity. On the other, by conserving biodiversity, we can make a major contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting adaptation to climate change. For example, wetlands and forests are major carbon sinks, and river meadows act as buffer zones against flooding. "Joined up" thinking on climate and biodiversity is therefore urgently required, and new ways forward must be found which benefit both areas and enable us to achieve the relevant targets. A good example is the funding of rainforest conservation programmes from the proceeds of emissions trading.
Implementing the National Strategy on Biological Diversity
Germany must take a lead role in biodiversity conservation. It currently holds the Presidency of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) – a role which creates both opportunities and obligations.
Germany's National Strategy on Biological Diversity was unveiled in 2007. It contains some good ideas but it still lacks "teeth". What are needed now are practical roadmaps and timetables as well as adequate funding, backed by tough sanctions, so that it achieves its goals.
Driving the UN Convention
Germany must help to steer the 10th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 10) in Japan in October 2010 to a successful conclusion. It is essential for the Conference to adopt the Protocol on access and benefit-sharing for genetic resources as well as binding rules on liability for genetic contamination. Indigenous peoples must be able to participate on the basis of equality, and account must be taken of justice and human rights issues.
Global conservation of biodiversity is severely under-funded. This situation fails to take account of the overriding significance of biodiversity and must be rectified as a matter of urgency. Within the LifeWeb Initiative, Germany has pledged funding to support the establishment of a global network of protected areas. It must honour its pledge in full and on a transparent basis in order to encourage other countries to participate as well.