Ghent, 9 September, IUCN Director-General Julia Marton-Lefèvre gave the closing keynote address at the Belgian EU Presidency event “Biodiversity in a changing world”.
In her speech “Visions for the Future” Julia highlighted that the EU, as the world’s largest economic block, has the power to make a huge impact (both positive and negative) on the future of biodiversity in coming decade.
The 2010 Biodiversity Target was not met due to the international community not addressing the underlining causes of biodiversity loss. Ms Marton-Lefèvre emphasized that mainstreaming biodiversity not only makes environmental but also, economic sense.
If the diversity of life is to be conserved in Europe and elsewhere, the EU needs to offer leadership in putting in place all the necessary policies and actions to prevent further biodiversity loss. This includes eliminating harmful subsidies affecting biodiversity, managing all areas under agriculture, aquaculture and forestry according to sustainability criteria, increasing the global coverage of protected areas to at least 15%, and changing our production and consumption habits. These are part of recommendations that IUCN is putting forward to the CBD Parties in their deliberations on the future strategic direction of the Convention and the broader biodiversity family.
Governments must also strengthen and above all enforce liability for environmental damage. They must lead by example, so that all major public as well as private development projects are accompanied by effective mitigation and adequate compensation for loss of habitat and ecosystem services, based on the concept of “Net Positive Impact”. We need new economic policies to enable the EU to continue to lead the world, not just by becoming “carbon neutral” but also “biodiversity positive.”
“The EU can set a pioneering example worldwide by showing that by conserving biodiversity – our natural capital – nations can improve their wellbeing and prosperity, and move towards a more harmonious, “green” growth path,” Ms Marton-Lefèvre concluded.
2010 is the year in which both the EU and the global community must adopt a new biodiversity target and strategy for the next decade. The Conference in Ghent looked at the challenges and discussed possible opportunities to contribute to this process. The conference identified six crucial opportunities:
1. Improve integration and mainstreaming of biodiversity at all levels
2. Build strong and sustainable partnerships
3. Increase financial resources and optimize the sue of current resources for biodiversity
4. Provide strong science for strong policy
5. Communicate, raising awareness and citizen involvement
6. EU responsibility for global biodiversity
Read the full Message from Ghent here