What future for biodiversity in Europe?

The forthcoming European Conservation Forum, taking place from 6 to 9 September in Bonn, Germany, will be a major opportunity to discuss the way forward for biodiversity in Europe. With some 370 IUCN Members and a large number of scientists as members of IUCN’s Commissions in Europe, the outcomes of this Forum will be instrumental in defining IUCN’s priority actions for the next four years, writes Hans Friederich, Regional Director for Europe.

West Norwegian Fjords Photo: IUCN Photo Library © IUCN / David Sheppard

Thanks to the kind support of the City administration co-hosting the event, the Forum will take place at Bonn’s Wissenschaftszentrum. The Mayor of Bonn and IUCN’s Director-General will open the event and celebrate the partnership between Bonn and IUCN.

“Switch to action!” is the leading theme of the Forum. The event will help highlight the need for increased efforts to translate commitments into concrete conservation action. It will provide an opportunity for numerous players within IUCN and beyond to get together and discuss how to put in practice the biodiversity measures that have been under discussion in Europe.

More active engagement with businesses and local authorities is one of the crucial issues on the agenda for the Forum. In this large open consultation with European Members, IUCN will also discuss its role and presence in Europe. Some ideas for new biodiversity action and for expanding existing projects will be presented to Members to define future activities. Among these is an integrated management plan of the North Sea linked to a European network of Marine Protected Areas; the second phase of the Forest Law Enforcement and Governance Programme in Eastern Europe; engagement with the European Parliament and the Permanent Representations of EU Member States in Brussels; and cross-border natural resource management in Southern Eastern Europe. The Forum is also an opportunity to strengthen the cooperation among the IUCN Secretariat, Members and National Committees.

Yet the event is not just about Europe. Next year, 2012, will be an important year not only because the World Conservation Congress will see the adoption of the new IUCN Programme, but also because the summit of the United Nations on sustainable development, Rio+20, will hopefully mark a major step in global environmental governance. In preparation to this important meeting, a presentation on IUCN’s position for Rio+20 will be given to Members.

The IUCN’s Environmental Law Centre, based in Bonn, is a major contributor to the preparation and running of the European Conservation Forum. IUCN Europe is very grateful for their support and that of the City of Bonn.

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