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Last update: 01.12.2009

Message by the Federal Environment Minister, Dr. Norbert Röttgen, for the International Year of Biodiversity

The loss of biological diversity stands alongside climate change as one of the mostpressing areas of global policy, and is thus one of the crucial challenges of our time.But even though we are aware of this loss and are committed to combating it atnational, regional and international level, biodiversity – the wealth of our planet –continues to disappear at a dramatic rate worldwide.

I believe that the United Nations' declaration of 2010 as the International Year ofBiodiversity will help increase public awareness throughout the world for the manyfacets of biodiversity and integrate this issue in key political and social processes.A host of events taking place in 2010 offer excellent opportunities for this:

In addition to the expert discussions within the CBD, biodiversity will be addressed byenvironment ministers at the special session of the UNEP Governing Council, andlater by heads of state and government in the special session of the UN GeneralAssembly.

We will have achieved an important objective if, by the end of 2010, the immensesignificance of biodiversity conservation for human welfare, global economicdevelopment and poverty reduction has been recognised and is consistently reflectedin our political actions.

But sound and responsible management of the resources provided by our Earthcannot be restricted to policy makers or intergovernmental conventions. It is a taskthat concerns every one of us. We must all accept joint responsibility. Only theconcerted efforts of science, media, private industry, citizens, NGOs and governmentactors will enable us to take the steps needed to halt the erosion of our naturalfoundations of life.

Conserving the Earth's biological diversity for future generations, so that they too canwitness at first hand the diversity, beauty and benefits of nature, is a key concern forme. We can only preserve the planet for the good of our children if we think beyondour own lifetime. It is a question of safeguarding the essential foundations of our life -as an end in itself, since these are assets for all mankind - but also to avert anecological crisis of a magnitude that would put all economic and financial crises in theshade.

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