2010 has been appointed by the UN as the Year of Biodiversity – what will the European Commission and other institutions be doing to mark this?

2010 has been appointed by the UN as the Year of Biodiversity – what will the European Commission and other institutions be doing to mark this?

The UN officially launched the Year of Biodiversity in Berlin on 11th January 2010. The first high level meeting will take place 21-22nd January at UNESCO in Paris. The Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD), hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), wants to focus this year on raising awareness of how essential biodiversity is and how it is being eroded by human intervention to generate public pressure for action by the world's decision makers.

The European Environment Agency (EEA) will be producing ten concise, thematic assessments of biodiversity. The first of these has already been published and presents the interaction between climate change and biodiversity http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/10-messages-for-2010/message-1-biodiversity-and-climate-change

The European Commission will be assessing the full delivery of the EU Biodiversity Action Plan. They already held a conference in Athens in April 2009 on ‘Biodivesity Protection – Beyond 2010’, involving stakeholders engaged in the development and implementation of EU biodiversity policy together with international institutions and globally recognized experts. This produced a final document – ‘ The message from Athens” http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/biodiversity/conference/pdf/message_final.pdf

A Commission report published in 2009 showed that several species and habitats are still at risk in Europe, but also clearly showed that the situation for the marine species and habitats is widely unknown (57 % of the marine species assessments and about 40 % of the marine habitats assessments were classed as ‘unknown’ by Member States).

2010 is the deadline imposed by the Convention on Biological Diversity to decrease the rate of loss of biodiversity, and the date by which the EU has committed itself to stop the loss of biodiversity altogether. Since that objective has clearly not been achieved, new biodiversity strategies must be put in place to achieve that goal in the near future.

Seas At Risk will work towards a more relevant place for marine issues in such a new strategy. The reform of the Common Fisheries Policy CFP will also pose opportunities to address the loss of marine biodiversity.


Photo by ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies/Marine Photobank.
 

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