Global biodiversity conference in South Korea

Picture of the red blossom of a heliconia

Heliconia, Brazil. Picture: Cyro José Soares

The global biodiversity conference is taking place in the South Korean county of Pyeongchang from 6 to 17 October. The conference is of pivotal importance for the internationally agreed objective to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2020. At the conference, the international assessment report on biodiversity, Global Biodiversity Outlook 4, will provide a mid-term review of the progress made. The German delegation is headed by BMUB Parliamentary State Secretary Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, who will be taking part in the highest level meetings.

She comments, 'We have made good progress around the world in some respects, for example in designating protected areas. We now need to follow through on this strong start, and are therefore seeking to consistently implement the EU's current Nature Directives. There are many other areas, however, in which much more commitment is required. For example, a key element in conserving biodiversity is to make fishing, agriculture and forestry more sustainable, not to mention our consumption in general. The protection and sustainable use of biological diversity therefore needs to be embedded in all relevant decision-making processes. This includes the negotiations currently underway at the United Nations for the new Sustainable Development Goals.'

In 2010, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity met in Nagoya, where it adopted a strategic plan with a total of 20 targets for 2020. This year’s conference is to provide a mid-term review of those targets and advise on actions that might be taken to ensure they can still be met.

One of the conference's focal topics is the protection of marine biodiversity.
Ecologically and biologically significant marine areas are currently being identified for entry into a global database.
The first few areas were entered during the 2012 conference, and it is hoped that several more entries can be made at this conference. The Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB) and Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) are supporting this process through the knowledge network 'Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative (GOBI)'.

Another key item on the agenda for this conference is to define international funding objectives for the protection and sustainable use of biological diversity. Germany has an international reputation as a pioneer in this field, and has a long-term arrangement to donate half a billion euros every year.
Together with the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the BMUB will present a report at the conference on Germany's involvement. The publication, entitled 'Biologische Vielfalt – Unsere gemeinsame Verantwortung' (biodiversity – our shared responsibility) provides a comprehensive review of those projects to conserve global biodiversity that are being supported by Germany.