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More nature conservation means more security from pandemics and more climate protection

In an open letter to the German Chancellor on the occasion of World Biodiversity Day on 22 May, renowned scientists, representatives of foundations, entrepreneurs, celebrities and NGOs expect consistent action in the adoption of the "European Green Deal" and the new biodiversity strategy of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The close link between the loss of biological diversity and the occurrence of pandemics shows with unprecedented clarity the consequences for humanity if intact habitats with high species diversity continue to be destroyed unchecked. 
According to a recent representative survey commissioned by the Campaign for Nature, the expectations of citizens towards the Federal Government are clear:

  • 95 percent consider the fight against species extinction to be important or very important,
  • 86 percent want to see increased protection of intact natural areas in order to reduce the transmission of infectious diseases from animals to humans,
  • four out of five would like the economic stimulus packages to give preference to companies and industries that pursue ambitious health, environmental and climate protection goals,
  • 84 percent of all respondents would like the Federal Government to make the protection of climate and nature a priority.

The signatories call for an interdepartmental and effective policy to protect biodiversity, based on clear, ambitious goals and positions. One of the central elements of this policy should be to effectively protect at least 30 percent of the Earth's sea and land area by 2030, while recognizing and supporting the rights of indigenous peoples.
The protection of at least 30 percent of the earth's surface is a triple benefit for our planet, the signatories of the open letter emphasize. Scientists estimate that if effectively implemented, about 70 percent of biodiversity and basic ecosystem services will be preserved for humanity. Strengthened and expanded protection of natural habitats, especially in the tropical forests, would at the same time provide a natural shield for us humans against further pandemics. And, by preserving natural carbon sinks and binding emissions, it would make a major contribution to climate protection and strengthen resilience and adaptability to climate change.
The current pandemic is a frightening reminder of how much our health and ultimately our survival depends on a healthy planet. At the same time, it offers a unique opportunity to initiate the indispensable fundamental changes in our economic and financial systems in order to ensure the future viability of humanity.
The open letter states: "The European Green Deal, including the EU Biodiversity Strategy, indicates the direction in which transformative change must be initiated in Europe. We therefore expect the Federal Government to take action in preparation for the Council Presidency, which begins on 1 July:

  • to work at national and European level to at least maintain the current level of the European Green Deal and to support its consistent and timely implementation,
  • align the planning and implementation of economic stimulus packages with the core elements of the European Green Deal. It would be fatal to give in to the lobbyists now and thus entrench yesterday's economic methods and models or postpone difficult transformation processes in the face of the current crisis. This includes in particular the immediate reorientation of agriculture as the main cause of the loss of biodiversity, 
  • to commit immediately to ambitious and concrete targets for the protection of biodiversity and to represent them nationally, within the EU and internationally This is linked to a clear commitment to the goal of placing at least 30 percent of the global marine and terrestrial area under effective protection by 2030 and to play a major role in mobilising the financial resources required for implementation. 

The open letter to the Federal Chancellor on the occasion of the International Day of Biological Diversity was signed by:

Olaf Bandt, Vorsitzender Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND)

Prof. Dr. Detlev Drenckhahn

Dr. Jürgen Heraeus

Hannes Jaenicke, Schauspieler, Autor, Dokumentarfilmer

Martin Kaiser, Geschäftsführender Vorstand Greenpeace Deutschland

Klaus Milke, Stifter / Vorsitzender Stiftung Zukunftsfähigkeit & Chair Foundations 20 

Prof. Dr. Kai Niebert, Präsident Deutscher Naturschutzring DNR

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Volker Mosbrugger, Generaldirektor Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung

Prof. Dr. Manfred Niekisch 

Dr. Christof Schenck, Geschäftsführer Zoologische Gesellschaft Frankfurt

Dr. Georg Schwede, Representative Europe, Campaign for Nature

Ernst-Christoph Stolper, Sprecher des Leitungskreises Forum Umwelt & Entwicklung 

Prof. Dr. Johannes Vogel, Generaldirektor des Museums für Naturkunde Berlin

Hansjörg Wyss, Chairman Wyss Foundation