Biodiversity essential for sustainable development

Little green frog

Perere frog, Brasil. Picture: Cyro José Soares

Conserving biodiversity plays a key role for sustainable development worldwide and must therefore be embedded in the new global sustainability agenda. The United Nations call for this is one of the results of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity which ended in Pyeongchang, South Korea, today. Parliamentary State Secretary Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter represented Germany at the conference's high level segment.

Schwarzelühr-Sutter commented: "We need a healthy environment - it is the basis for a good and healthy life. This is why I am championing a sustainable development that will conserve it for future generations."

Rich biodiversity is the basis for healthy ecosystems which deliver food and active substances for pharmaceuticals, regulate the climate and are important for soil formation, the nutrient cycle and clean drinking water. The significance of biodiversity for sustainable development and poverty alleviation worldwide was a central topic on the agenda of the high level segment. The representatives signed the Gangwon Declaration, in which they call for the integration of biodiversity in the UN's post-2015 development agenda.

The conference participants agreed that additional efforts at all levels and from all sectors are necessary in order to achieve the global biodiversity target of halting biodiversity loss by 2020. The measures proposed in the Global Biodiversity Outlook were confirmed. It is particularly important to take aspects of biodiversity into consideration beyond the context of nature conservation issues.

The Parties to the Convention also agreed to double international funding for the protection of biodiversity. Germany has continuously expanded its commitment since 2008. Since 2013, it makes available 500 million euros every year for the global conservation of forests and other ecosystems. This funding makes Germany one of the largest donors in the area of biodiversity and the first to fulfil this international obligation. Concrete agreements were also concluded on the protection of marine biodiversity. The Parties to the Convention confirmed the addition of around 150 ecologically and biologically significant marine areas to the Convention's data base. These areas had been identified and scientifically described previously during regional meetings. Around 75% of the world's oceans are now covered by the data base. It is an important scientific basis for selecting marine protected areas.