At the proposal of Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze, the German government adopted the key issues paper on the Action Programme for Insect Protection today. Based on these key issues, the Federal Environment Ministry will finalise the Action Programme by 2019 following a broad public discussion and subsequently implement measures without delay. As immediate action, Federal Environment Minister Schulze will make available 5 million euros every year from the Federal Biological Diversity Programme.
Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze commented: "We are far from knowing everything about insect decline. But we know enough to understand that we must act swiftly. That is why it was important to me that the cabinet adopt these key issues within the first 100 days of my term of office. Halting insect decline is one of the key challenges of our time. The German government has agreed on the fields of action where measures have to be taken to halt insect decline. This includes a generally more restrictive use of all pesticides, not just glyphosate. We also need more diversity in agriculture. Hedges and wildflower meadows instead of monocultures are vital for the survival of insects, birds and many other species."
Action Programme for Insect Protection
The Action Programme for Insect Protection envisages measures in the following areas:
- Promoting insect habitats and structural diversity in the agricultural landscape,
- Restoring and connecting insect habitats in other landscape areas,
- Enhancing protected areas as insect habitats,
- Reducing the use of pesticides,
- Reducing inputs of nutrients and pollutants in soil and water,
- Reducing light pollution.
In addition, the Action Programme is aimed at closing the knowledge gap on insect decline and introducing a nationwide uniform insect monitoring. Another objective is to address and inform industry associations and companies, research and educational institutions, civil society actors and individual citizens and encourage them to take action.
The Federal Environment Ministry has called for submissions of practical projects in the context of the Federal Biological Diversity Programme to support insects and their diversity. Every year, 5 million euros are earmarked for these projects. Over the next six to eight years, 30 to 40 million euros from the BMU funding programme will thus be available for insect protection.
Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze added: "Both the total number of insects and the diversity of insect species have fallen sharply in Germany over the past decades. The decline in insects threatens the balance of nature. When insects disappear, so will birds, bats and other animals. But that is not all. Whatever harms insects will, in the end, also harm humans: We will lose important services that insects provide for humanity, from pollination, natural pest control and water body purification to soil fertility conservation."