Open Letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel

More nature conservation leads to more security against pandemics and more climate protection

On the 18th of May well-known scientists, representatives of foundations, entrepreneurs, celebrities, and NGOs address the German Chancellor Angela Merkel in an open letter on the occasion of the World Biodiversity Day on May 22. The signatories call for consistent action when adopting the “European Green Deal” and the new biodiversity strategy of the UN under the Convention on the Protection of Biodiversity (CBD). The close connection between the loss of biodiversity and the occurrence of pandemics shows with unprecedented clarity the consequences for mankind if intact habitats with high biodiversity would continue to be destroyed unchecked.

According to a recent representative survey[1] commissioned by the Campaign for Nature, the expectations by citizens of the German Federal Government are clear:

  • 95 percent consider combating the extinction of species to be important or very important,
  • 86 percent want increased protection of intact natural areas to reduce the transmission of infectious diseases from animals to humans,
  • four out of five would like the economic stimulus programs to favor those companies and industries that pursue ambitious health, environmental and climate protection goals,
  • 84 percent of all respondents want the federal government to make climate and nature protection a priority.

The signatories call for a cross-departmental and effective biodiversity protection policy based on clear, ambitious goals and positions. A central component of this policy should, among other things, be effective protection of at least 30 percent of the earth’s sea and land by 2030, with recognition and support of the rights of indigenous peoples.

The signatories of the open letter emphasize, that the protection of at least these 30 percent of sea and land is a triple benefit for our planet. Scientists assumed that if implemented effectively, around 70 percent of biodiversity and basic ecosystem services will be preserved for humanity. A strengthened and expanded protection of natural habitats, especially in the tropical forests, would also form a natural protective shield for us humans against further pandemics. And, by preserving natural carbon sinks and capturing emissions, it would make significant contributions to climate protection and strengthen resilience and adaptability to climate change.

The current pandemic terrifyingly shows us how much our health and ultimately our survival depend on a healthy planet. At the same time, this situation of crisis offers a unique opportunity to introduce fundamental changes in our economic and financial systems to ensure the future viability of humanity.

The open letter states: “The European Green Deal, including the EU biodiversity strategy, shows the direction of how transformative change must be initiated in Europe. We therefore expect the German Federal Government in preparation for assuming its role as EU presidency beginning on July 1st to

  • work nationally and at European level to at least maintain the current level of the European Green Deal and to support consistent and prompt implementation,
  • Align the planning and implementation of the economic stimulus programs with the core elements of the European Green Deal. It would be fatal to give in to the lobbyists now, thereby establishing yesterday’s economic practices and models or postponing difficult transformation processes in the face of the current crisis. This includes the immediate realignment of agriculture as the main cause of the loss of biodiversity,
  • Immediately commit to ambitious and concrete goals for the protection of biological diversity and to represent them nationally, within the EU and internationally. This is associated with a clear commitment to the goal of effectively protecting at least 30 percent of the world’s oceans and land by 2030 and to play a key role in mobilizing the financial resources necessary for implementation. “

The open letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel on International Biodiversity Day was signed by:

  • Olaf Bandt, Chairman of the Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND)
  • Dr. Detlev Drenckhahn
  • Jürgen Heraeus
  • Hannes Jaenicke, actor, author, documentary filmmaker
  • Martin Kaiser, Managing Director of Greenpeace Germany
  • Klaus Milke, founder / chair Stiftung Zukunftsfähigkeit & Chair Foundations 20
  • Dr. Kai Niebert, President Deutscher Naturschutzring DNR
  • Dr. Dr. h.c. Volker Mosbrugger, General Director Senckenberg Nature Research Society
  • Dr. Manfred Niekisch
  • Christof Schenck, Managing Director Zoological Society Frankfurt
  • Georg Schwede, Representative Europe, Campaign for Nature
  • Ernst-Christoph Stolper, spokesman of the steering committee Forum Umwelt & Entwicklung
  • Dr. Johannes Vogel, General Director of the Natural History Museum Berlin
  • Hansjörg Wyss, Chairman of the Wyss Foundation

Click here for downloading the open letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel in German.

Contacts:

Friedrich Wulf, Coordinator ‘AG Biodiversität‘, Forums Umwelt und Entwicklung, Friedrich.Wulf@freenet.de, Tel. 0162 7480899 bzw. 07664

[1] Click here for the results of the Kantar/Emnid survey comissionend by the Campaign for Nature and its graphical representation here.

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