The International Year of Biodiversity

, by Christine Roedlach

The International Year of Biodiversity

In 2006, the General Assembly of The UN declared 2010 to be the International Year of Biodiversity to actively counter fight the progressing loss of Biodiversity.

The loss of biodiversity threatens food supplies, tourism possibilities and recreation areas, water- and forest reserves as well as energy and medicine.

Biodiversity, also known as biological diversity, is an expression of the thousands of years old evolution of earth. It includes different eco-systems like deserts or woods as well as a variety of fauna and flora. Scientists estimate that there are currently approximately 13 Million species, of which 1.75 Million have been identified. In each eco-system, species interact with their environment. It is in our interest to stop the progressing loss of biodiversity. The loss of biodiversity threatens food supplies, tourism possibilities and recreation areas, water- and forest reserves as well as energy and medicine. Healthy eco-systems are not only the basis for the generation of food, fuels, fibres and building materials but also indispensable for oxygen cleaning, detoxification of water and the stabilisation of the climate.

Initiatives

At the UN-conference for environment and development in Rio de Janeiro, a convention for climate change and the convention for biological diversity (CBD) were signed on the “world summit” in 1992. The latter is the first global convention for the conservation of sustainable use of biological diversity. In December 2006, the General Assembly of the UNO has declared the year 2010 to the International Year of Biodiversity. The attention of the public shall thereby be drawn to this important issue and actions for the conservation of biodiversity initiated. The EU aimed to stop the gradual loss of biodiversity by 2010. This goal was not reached. The European Institutions therefore, are thinking about which strategies after this International Year of Biodiversity can be followed, on a midterm basis until 2020, on the long term until 2050.

A growing number of enterprises are meanwhile contributing to the principles of sustainable growth. More and more firms find ways to create profit in reducing effects on the environment. Local communities are a key role in this regard; they act as manager of these eco systems in which they live in. With help of NGOs and intergovernmental organisations a lot of successful sustainable projects could be developed, for example, the Countdown 2010 Initiative. In the end, the responsible decision makers for the realisation of individual projects to halt biodiversity loss are each and every individual – through personal engagement, the decisions taken as consumer and voter.

Key Position of Hunters

The Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation in Europe (FACE) are a motivated NGO in Brussels who are working for biodiversity and contribute on a daily business to the issue. Its CEO, Angus Middleton, recently underlined the contribution of hunters and shooters to biological diversity at a high level conference in Brussels pointing out that it is a vital interest of the hunting community that the conservation status of species remains in balance. Only through sustainable and biodiversity supporting hunting activities, hunting and shooting have a future. Hunters therefore, invest a lot of time and money in the conservation of biodiversity in monitoring developments of fauna and flora on a regular and voluntarily basis; they recognise diseases at an early stage and realise changes of eco systems at an early stage in contributing to a natural balance. According to Middleton, hunters play a special role in following this aim, together with all stakeholders of the rural areas, namely to stop the loss of biodiversity and eco systems and to restore them as far as possible. FACE connects the knowledge of hunters and shooters at European level, advices decisions of EU-Institutions and informs regularly 7 million hunters and shooters in Europe on developments at European level.

Ongoing events during the International Year of Biodiversity 2010 can be seen on: http://www.cbd.int/2010/celebrations/.

Image: Great Barrier Reef. Source: Wikipedia Commons.

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