This year the focus is “Marine Biodiversity”.
The threats to marine biodiversity are manifold. Overfishing, excessive economic exploitation, pollution, warming and acidification have contributed immensely to the ongoing loss of species. Some 80% of Caribbean coral reefs have already been destroyed, while 35% of mangroves have disappeared during the last decades.
At the last two Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Germany managed in collaboration with the international community to map out an ambitious and effective global biodiversity policy for the next ten years. Germany is playing a major role in fleshing out this policy and in implementing it with exemplary actions.
Germany is also a reliable partner in biodiversity protection when it comes to funding. Between 2009 and 2012, the German Government provided an additional 500 million euros, and from 2013 500 million euros will be available annually for the protection and sustainable use of forests and other key ecosystems. Furthermore, we increased our financial commitment to global biodiversity protection from more than 170 million euros in 2008 to more than 260 million euros in 2010.
Another issue of great importance to us was the founding of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the establishment of its secretariat in the UN City of Bonn. Only if political decision-makers receive independent, scientifically sound and thus convincing information on the state and development of biodiversity and the threats facing it, can they make the necessary decisions on protecting global biodiversity. The setting up of IPBES and the results produced during Germany’s two-and-a-half-year chairmanship of CBD are extraordinary successes for Germany and a great incentive for our work in future.
In the Caribbean, Germany will continue its joint programme of “Tropical Forest Protection” with the Co-operative Republic of Guyana. The intention of this programme is to contribute to the preservation of biodiversity and natural resources in the Guyana Protected Areas System. Germany so far has committed close to 12,5 Mio. Euros to this programme.
The German Government is also considering to support the Caribbean Biodiversity Fund and the Caribbean Challenge Initiative which aims at consolidating the various protected areas in the Caribbean.
This complements Germany’s ongoing efforts at assisting Caribbean countries in tackling climate change: In supporting additional measures for climate change adaptation in the Caribbean in 2012 the German Government is providing CARICOM a sum of up to 5.5 million Euros (approx. 7.2 million USD) to be used for the project “Adaptation to climate change in the Caribbean for the protection of natural resources and diversification in agriculture and forestry”.
The source of these additional funds is revenue from the auctioning of carbon credits.
Through this additional financial support, Germany demonstrates its determination to contribute to the goals agreed at the global climate conference in Copenhagen and confirmed in Cancún, according to which the industrialised countries are to gradually mobilise, starting in 2020, an annual 100 billion USD for climate change mitigation and/or adaptation from public and private sources.
When I attended the opening of the Sixth Caribbean Environmental Forum & Exhibition in St. Kitts on 21 May this year, I was impressed by the efforts undertaken in the Caribbean to protect the environment and fight climate change. With the signing of the recent “Barbados Declaration on Sustainable Energy for All in Small Island Developing States” earlier this month, participants have highlighted the region’s commitment to the promotion of renewable energy sources, energy efficiency and low carbon development. Germany stands ready to continue its long-standing cooperation with the Caribbean in the area of renewable energy and energy efficiency as well.
Awareness of the importance of both protecting biodiversity and adapting to climate change is the key to successful political action and to sustainable development in which future generations can continue to enjoy the diversity and splendour of nature and its species.