Federal cabinet adopts comprehensive Action Programme for Insect Protection
At the proposal of Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze, the federal cabinet adopted the Action Programme for Insect Protection today. It is the most comprehensive package of measures for the protection of insects and their diversity adopted by the German government so far. The programme addresses all essential causes of insect decline with concrete measures in nine areas of action, including considerably stricter rules for the use of pesticides. The Federation will provide an additional 100 million euros for insect protection and research every year.
German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze commented: "We would be lost in a world without insects. Insects provide services we urgently need to survive. Insect decline has taken on dramatic levels, and there are several causes for this development. However, if we take the right measures in various areas we will be able to reverse the trend. We can stop insect decline. The action programme provides us with a package of measures that lays out precisely what the German government will do to halt the decline in insect numbers and diversity. I am particularly glad that we will be able to better protect insects in agriculture as well: The German government will ban the use of glyphosate as early as European law allows, in 2023, and will significantly limit its use before that. It is at least as important for insect protection to also reduce the use of any other pesticides. We want to support everything that helps insects and avoid anything that harms them."
In addition to introducing more stringent rules, the funding of insect protection will be stepped up. The Federation has earmarked an additional 100 million euros per year to support insect protection measures and research in agriculture and other sectors. This includes funding of 50 million euros every year for a special framework plan for insect protection in the context of the Joint Task for the Improvement of Agricultural Structures and Coastal Protection. In addition, 25 million euros are earmarked in the federal budget for concrete insect protection projects in non-agricultural landscapes and another annual 25 million euros for research and establishing a nationwide insect monitoring system
Furthermore, protected areas will be strengthened and protection for habitats that are particularly important for insects will be increased by expanding legal protection to the biotopes of species-rich grassland and meadow orchards. The use of herbicides and insecticides that are harmful to biodiversity will be completely banned for large parts of protected areas. For the use of pesticides, the minimum distance to water bodies will be set at ten meters, or five meters where the stretch is covered by permanent grassland. The government will adopt an act on insect protection and corresponding ordinances within this legislative period to make these provisions binding and amend nature conservation law, plant protection law, fertiliser law and water law accordingly.
Other measures of the action programme are geared towards protecting and restoring insect habitats in rural and urban areas, reducing light pollution, reducing the input of nutrients and pollutants in insect habitats and supporting commitment to insect protection across the whole of society.