European biodiversity in a global context

02 July 2010 | News story

The conference “European biodiversity in a global context” organized by the Secretariat of the European Parliament Intergroup “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development”, run jointly by IUCN and the European Bureau for Conservation and Development (EBCD) took place the European Parliament on the 1st of July. The conference addressed critical issues that must be addressed in the run up to the COP such as financing, indicators, setting appropriate sub targets, and the mainstreaming of biodiversity policy. The conference highlighted that now is the opportune time for the European Union to take the lead in biodiversity conservation, and that it needs to speak with one voice at the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP10) in October.

Commissioner Janez Potočnik opened the conference and stressed that “when we lose biodiversity we are not just losing species. We are running down the natural assets on which we and future generations depend on”.

The continuing alarming loss of biodiversity was highlighted by Dr Jane Smart, IUCN “We really have not met the target, but we need to move beyond the failure of the 2010 target and discuss the real issues for the next target”, stated Dr Jane Smart – IUCN.

The event - co-chaired by Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Struan Stevenson and MEP Theodoros Skylakakis - took place in the framework of the ongoing discussions in the European Parliament on the Own-initiative report on the implementation of EU legislation aiming at the conservation of biodiversity and the upcoming Resolution on the CBD Conference.

The on-going international process to adopt a new biodiversity target for the post-2010 period is of paramount importance to try and reverse the current trends of biodiversity loss. MEP Jo Leinen, Chairman of the EP Environment Committee, urged the EU to speak with one voice at the CBD COP10 in Nagoya, qualified by Ines Verleye representing the EU Belgian Presidency as “critical for multilateralism”. Verleye considers financing decisive for a positive outcome of the COP in October. Financial resources are a prerequisite for a successful adoption and implementation of ambitious targets. 

Participants underlined the importance of making biodiversity more understandable to the citizens which requires a shift to accessible terminology.

Other speakers and Rountable participants included:
Hans Friederich, IUCN
Els Martens, Flemish Ministry of the Environment, Upcoming EU Belgian Presidency
Christophe Bouvier, UNEP
Ladislav Miko,  European Commission
MEP Cristina Gutierrez-Cortines
Alain-Domonique Quintart,
Syngenta

More than 140 participants, including Members of Parliament (MEPs), representatives from NGOs, academic organizations and the private sector discussed challenges facing biodiversity conservation and the policy steps which will lead to the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP10).