Welcome to the Green Week Conference 2010
Biodiversity - our lifeline
This year, the largest annual conference on European environment policy turns the spotlight on biodiversity. Over some 30 sessions, the conference will address the state of biodiversity and nature in Europe and the world, the benefits they bring, present-day pressures on them, and possible solutions to the current rates of loss. The path to be taken by EU policies on biodiversity and nature policies post-2010, the economic dimension of biodiversity, ecosystem services and Natura 2000 will also be investigated.
These are some of the many questions Green Week 2010 will examine in three days of discussion and debate between high-level speakers from Europe and beyond.
Green Week is a unique opportunity for exchanges of experience and good practice.
Some 3 800 participants are expected from EU institutions, business and industry, non-governmental organisations, public authorities, the scientific community and academia.
Managing Director of Wild Wonders of Europe
For our natural heritage and biodiversity to be saved and allowed to flourish, a wide audience needs to believe that this is a good idea and support it with their actions, their wallets and their votes.
But many of them know very, very little about what is out there and about how wonderful that heritage really is, so how can they be expected to care?
How can we learn to reach them, and what messages will we need to get through to them?
Prof. Wim Van der Putten
Head of the department Multitrophic Interactions, Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW)
Prof. Jacqueline McGlade
Executive Director, European Environment Agency
In January 2010, the European Commission requested the EEA to produce a baseline setting out the state and trends of Europe’s biodiversity and related ecosystem services. The baseline will help the EU to develop post-2010 biodiversity policy targets and will serve as a benchmark for measuring and monitoring progress towards those goals in the period 2011–2020. As we prepare to publish the baseline at the opening of Green Week 2010 it is clear that the erosion of our natural capital has never been so dramatic. Fortunately, efforts are starting to pay off in some areas and through effective implementation of well designed policies we can still secure the ecosystems that sustain us.
Sir Graham Wynne
Chief Executive of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, United Kingdom
EU Heads of State have signed up to the target of not just halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020, but also restoring them. How will the Birds and Habitats Directives help us meet this target, in the middle of not just a biodiversity crisis, but also economic and climate change crises?
Jeffrey A. McNeely
Senior Science Advisor, The World Conservation Union (IUCN)
Biomass comes in many forms and serves many human demands. As these demands grow, biomass increasingly is coming under pressure of overexploitation, calling for greater efforts to ensure sustainability. The 2010 target to halt the loss of biodiversity will not be met? What is the problem, and how can it be addressed?
Progamme Manager Agriculture and Food, Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL)
Many people do not realize that eating meat and other animal products (including fish and dairy) has such a tremendous effect on biodiversity, not only in their own country but also in other continents. Through urbanization and specialization, we have lost sight on the effects of livestock production.
Dr Sybille van den Hove
Director of MEDIAN, Spain
There is a growing recognition of the need for well-functioning science-policy interfaces for biodiversity and ecosystem services. But how can we design such processes? And how should we put it into practice? Linking up to existing structures will be important, and filling any gaps will be critical for success. The EU now has a unique opportunity to strengthen its own science-policy interfaces, which could answer the specific policy needs of the Union, as well as contribute to a future Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.
Robbert C. Steijn
Director Coasts and Marine Systems and Project manager, OURCOAST
Dr Aaron Bernstein
Faculty Member, Harvard Medical School
Head of Marine Advice, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, UK, and Vice-Chair of the Advisory Committee, International Council for the Exploration of the Seas
Marine biodiversity is under pressure from a number of human activities; the greatest immediate and widespread pressure is from fishing, with other pressures being more localised. Improved management and planning are the best way of reducing these pressures. Over the longer term, the effects of climate change and ocean acidification will become more significant.
Special Delegate, EUROSITE
The implementation and management of the Natura 2000 network is often associated with conflicts. But is it necessarily a bad thing? What are the main causes of conflict? How to deal with potentially conflicting interests? Stakeholders matter! Understanding different approaches tested to avoid, manage and deal with conflicts in Natura sites in twelve countries of Europe can help reach good solutions and agreements between the stakeholders involved. All these efforts, for the long term benefits of nature and society…
Philip E. Hulme
Professor of Plant Biosecurity, The Bio-Protection Research Centre, New Zealand
The central philosophy of the European Union that promotes the free movements of goods and services among member states also facilitates the rapid dissemination of invasive alien species. The current fragmented and uncoordinated approach to tackling these biosecurity threats exposes European biodiversity to biological invasions. Nations around the world now recognise the need for central coordination of pre- and post-border activities and Europe needs to similarly integrate its approach to invasive species across all sectors.
Prof Dir. Carlo Heip
Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research NIOZ
Contrary to common perception, marine biodiversity in European Seas may be actually increasing as a result of climate change and the introduction of invading species. The challenge is therefore not only to protect threatened species and habitats, but also to predict the consequences of changing biodiversity for the functioning and therefore the management of marine ecosystems.
Dr. Ing. Agr. Walter Alberto Pengue
National University of General Samiento, Argentina and member of the Resource Panel
Soils and biodiversity of the world are the basket of global food production. During the last decades there was an strong transformation in the rural sector with relevant social and environmental impacts. Agroecological models could be one of the main possibilities of humankind to restore this degraded lands.
Department of Biology, University of York
The majority of species are showing clear impacts of climate change on their ecology and distributions, and many species are expected to become extinct as climate change proceeds. Biodiversity and ecosystem-based conservation strategies need to be developed to minimise the damage that is caused during a period of rapid climate change.
Prof Geoffrey D. Gooch
Linköping University, Coordinator of the FP7 project LiveDiverse
To achieve true biodiversity we must also take into account socio-economic and cultural-spiritual diversity. Nature and humans are intricately intertwined. Protection of the diversity of nature, of plants and animals, must go hand in hand with protection of the diversity of peoples' livelihoods and beliefs about the world around them. Without this we will not achieve true sustainability and the rich and complicated weave of nature and humanity will be impoverished.
Chairman UK Fishing Industry’s MPA–Fishing Coalition
The fishing industry has known more about North Sea habitats than any other group since time in memoriam. The first maps of north-east Atlantic habitats were prepared from data collected by fishermen navigating their way with no more than a compass and a leadline. This historic data has been built on by successive generations with echo-sounders, RoxAn, multi-frequency multi-beam sonar and GPS. If you wish to protect a sensitive habitat or species consult the local fishermen; you may be surprised how much they can contribute to defining – and defending – important marine sites.
Éamon de Buitléar
Whenever I return home after visiting another country, I am reminded of the small size of the island on which I live and of the beauty of its largely unspoiled countryside. I have used Ireland’s landscapes as a backdrop in very many films where the animals have been the main actors. This gives me a great opportunity to make people aware of the importance of our environment and the need to protect it.
Chief Executive Officer - Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation of the E.U. [FACE]
We should be proud of the creation of the Natura 2000 network. The next step is to make sure that the network functions efficiently through the active involvement of local actors. For many Europeans the opportunity to hunt provides a strong incentive to conserve nature. To ensure that this contribution is sustainable, mutual respect and responsibility are needed within local communities, this is happening.
Prof. Peter Bridgewater
Global Garden Consulting
Thomas Kirk Sørensen
National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark
Programme Officer, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), United Nations Environment Programme
Deputy Secretary of OSPAR
Marine protected areas are a key tool for the conservation and sustainable use of our oceans. The North-East Atlantic Summit – Ministerial Meeting of the OSPAR Commission in September 2010 in Bergen, Norway will take forward a network of marine protected areas, which currently extends from Svalbard in the North to the Azores in the South. OSPAR is fostering close cooperation with fisheries authorities and stakeholders, and is pioneering work, in collaboration with other competent organisations, on the establishment of marine protected areas in “areas beyond national jurisdiction”.
Chair of European Habitats Forum
Dr Marcus Lindner
Head, Forest Ecology and Management Programme, European Forest Institute (EFI)
Climate change is projected to strongly affect forests in Europe. Forest management will have to adapt to changes in mean climate but also to increased variability with greater risk of extreme weather events, such as prolonged drought, storms and floods. The capacity to adapt to the changing climate varies between European regions. The presentation will introduce existing and proposed adaptation strategies. Moreover, shortcomings will be also discussed, to point out insufficient preparedness to face the challenges of climate change in European forestry.
Dr Allan Watt
Deputy Science Director, Biodiversity Programme, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, United Kingdom
Jesús Ángel Diez Vázquez
Programme Director, Natural Heritage Foundation of Castilla y León
What does financing nature conservation mean? Does it imply financing local development, and paying for environmental services provided by local people? Are we doing all we can to finance nature conservation? Is the integration approach for Cohesion and Rural Development Policies fit for purpose? What about the role of the private sector?
German Federal Ministry on the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety
Dr. Stefan Bringezu
Senior Fellow and Director, Department for Material Flows and Structural Change, Wuppertal Institute
As long as global demand for biomass based products is growing faster than yields, indirect land use change cannot be avoided by production standards. Monitoring and control of global land use for domestic consumption of all biomass products of net consuming countries is needed in order to adjust consumption to levels which can be supplied sustainably.
Head of Department, Federal Forest Office, Austria
Genetic diversity, i.e. diversity at the intraspecific level, is a critical component of biodiversity because it allows the species to evolve over time and in space and thus plays a key role for the long-term species survival and for ecosystem stability. To make a better use of the existing potential in order to contribute to stable and productive forests, especially in view of climate change and to minimize negative impacts of genetic impoverishment there is a need for a sound management of genetic resources.
Associate Professor at the Szent István University, Hungary
Structural Funds (especially ERDF) can be even further developed to finance Green infrastructure. What are the experiences in other countries? What are the suggestions based on these experiences? The different funding mechanisms of EU can be even more harmonised to finance Green infrastructure (especially LIFE+, ERDF, EAFRD). How? What are the experiences with using these funds in other countries? Are there suggestions?
Head of Natura 2000, French Environment Ministry
Avec Natura 2000, les populations locales deviennent des acteurs à part entière de la préservation des espaces. C'est un mode de gouvernance exigeant mais indispensable pour que progressivement tous les acteurs locaux (élus, industriels, associations, agriculteurs, sylviculteurs, chasseurs, pêcheurs, sportifs) comprennent la nécessité et l'intérêt de préserver la biodiversité et participent concrètement à définir et mettre en œuvre des solutions pour préserver les habitats et les espèces.
Director, Comunità Ambiente
Deputy Director General, Department for Nature Management, Ministry of the Environment, Norway
When it comes to the state of play of EU biodiversity legislation we should not only focus on implementation difficulties inside Member States, but also on the vast differences between the respective Member States and why these differences exist. In my view, these differences are due to weak implementation and vague legislation. That is why it is up to both Member States and the European Commission to make the EU biodiversity policy more effective, while respecting subsidiarity and flexibility in order to adapt implementation to local circumstances.