Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks welcomed the results achieved at the biodiversity summit in Cancún as a success for species conservation. "The conference mapped out important paths for the future. It is encouraging that, across the world, species conservation has now been elevated to the rank of a guiding principle for agricultural decisions. This makes one thing clear – the conservation of species is just as important for humankind as climate action. From now on, these two major tasks for the future must be considered together."
At the weekend, governments from 167 countries agreed on a number of biodiversity conservation measures which reinforce the implementation of the targets for the UN Decade on Biodiversity. In 2010 the member states took a decision for the next 10 years to improve conservation of 17 per cent of land and 10 per cent of marine areas.
The sets of measures primarily address industrial farming. The governments agreed on establishing species conservation as a guiding principle for other policy areas such as agriculture and forestry, fisheries and tourism. Intensive farming practices also endanger the lives of bees and other pollinators. A newly established Coalition of the Willing on Pollinators aims to strengthen the protection of pollinating insects and small animals from pesticides. Germany is a member of the coalition. At the beginning of the conference, the Ministers declared their intention in the Cancún Declaration to reduce adverse agricultural subsidies.
The Biodiversity Conference also took important decisions in other policy areas, including an action plan for the restoration of degraded forests and mainstreaming species conservation in sectors such as raw materials extraction, infrastructure and production. Another major decision now stipulates that climate action measures must not be implemented to the detriment of biodiversity. More negotiations are, however, still necessary on the designation of additional marine and coastal protected areas in national waters and on the high seas. The biodiversity conference takes place every two years. The next conference will be hosted by Egypt in 2018.