On 10 October, Minister Svenja Schulze presented her proposals for measures for the Action Programme for Insect Protection laid out in the coalition agreement. An online dialogue has also been initiated in which the public, too, can participate.
Today, Minister Svenja Schulze presented her proposals for measures for the Action Programme for Insect Protection laid out in the coalition agreement. The proposals centre around a seachange in the funding system for agriculture and the use of pesticides. Following a phase of public participation, Minister Schulze will coordinate a revised proposal with her colleagues and submit it to the cabinet.
Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze commented: "Halting insect decline is a key political task of our time. If we do not succeed in halting insect decline, it is not only bird species and nature as a whole that are on the line, but our agriculture and other branches of industry, too. We need the services provided by insects. If we want to protect insects, we need larger habitats for insects, less pesticide use and a smarter approach to agricultural support. This means that we have to support a type of agriculture that does not harm insects but helps them survive." The ongoing reform of EU agricultural funding, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), offers this opportunity.
The Environment Ministry's proposals also aim at triggering a seachange in pesticide use. "If we are serious about protecting insects, we will have to significantly reduce the use of any kind of pesticide", explained Minister Schulze. Plant protection agents like glyphosate are proven to harm biodiversity. In its coalition agreement, the German government agreed to stop the use glyphosate.
Furthermore, the Federal Environment Ministry wants to steer the use of plant protection agents in a more environmentally friendly and sound way in general. Authorisation procedures and practices for plant protection agents will be revised to strengthen insect protection. In future, authorisations will be granted under the condition that there are protected areas for biodiversity. In ecologically particularly vulnerable areas, the use of such products will be banned. Other proposals concern amendments on conserving riverbanks, designating biotopes and species-rich grassland as protected areas and curbing light pollution.
The proposals for measures will be discussed with the relevant actors at the 9th National Forum on Biological Diversity. A four-week online dialogue will be launched in parallel. Minister Schulze commented: "It is important to me to give citizens the possibility to comment on my ideas and submit their own. An efficient protection of insects and their diversity can only be successful if we make a concerted effort. For this reason, I hope that as many citizens as possible will participate in our online dialogue."
The outcomes of the online dialogue and the discussion forums will be considered in the programme draft, which will then be coordinated between the ministries. The cabinet is scheduled to adopt the Action Programme for Insect Protection in early summer 2019.