World Environment Day Celebrations 

5 June 2007 | Berlin, Germany

June 2007
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Thursday, 7 June 2007

On the occasion of World Environment Day on 5 June 2007, a series of events took place at the Museum of Natural History in Berlin, Germany, addressing the theme "Biodiversity, Climate Change and Community Action: A Message for Our Future." The events focused on the twin challenges of climate change and biodiversity conservation for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Convention on Biological Diversity's (CBD) target to achieve a significant reduction of the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. The event was hosted by UNDP, the Equator Initiative, the CBD Secretariat, IUCN and Countdown 2010. It was financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and organized by the BIODIV programme of the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), UNDP, the Equator Initiative and GeoMedia. Participants from governments, business, communities and civil society attended the following events: a press conference presenting a statement for World Environment Day and conveying a message to the G8 Summit (held from 6-8 June 2007 in Heiligendamm, Germany); a policy dialogue focusing on strategic opportunities and priority actions for G8 members and global leaders to build upon synergies between the climate change and biodiversity agendas; and the 2006 Equator Prize award ceremony and dinner.

The message for World Environment Day calls on the G8 to take leadership for renewed commitments to climate change and biodiversity conservation. Recommendations for action from the Equator Initiative and Countdown 2010 include: global leadership in financing for adaptation to and mitigation of climate change; adopting a clear mandate for a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol; and integrating biodiversity and climate change concerns into all relevant sectors. The policy dialogue addressed key policies, such as compensation for avoided deforestation and a review of the economic impacts of biodiversity loss; and implementation measures, such as ensuring coherent development and environmental programmes and developing innovative funding mechanisms.

Participants then attended the opening of a new photo exhibition to be housed at the Museum entitled: "Nature - Our Precious Net", prepared by GTZ, GEO Magazine, Countdown 2010, IUCN and UNDP.

In the evening, participants attended the Equator Prize Award Ceremony to celebrate the achievements of five communities in diminishing poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in Madagascar, Bangladesh, Guatemala, Kenya and Ecuador.

Press Conference and Message to the G8 summit
Ahmed Djoghlaf, CBD Executive Secretary, presented the message to the G8 Summit, calling on G8 participants to take leadership on these issues and contribute to a strong political momentum for renewed commitments to climate change and biodiversity conservation.
Olav Kjørven, UNDP Assistant Director General, welcomed participants and called for a round of applause for the winners of the Equator Prize.
Benson Venegas, ANAI, Talamanca Initiative, presented additional recommendations for action to G8 leaders developed by the Equator Initiative.
Astrid Klug, Parliamentary State Secretary for the Environment, Germany, said the message to the G8 will support Germany’s efforts in advancing the international climate change and biodiversity agendas.
Michael Hofmann, BMZ, welcomed the message, noting that many recommendations should be integrated in the decisions of the G8 summit.
Policy Dialogue - Panel I
Panel I addressed key policy issues relating to climate change and biodiversity conservation. L-R: Ahmed Djoghlaf, CBD Executive Secretary; Christain Ruck, MP, Germany; Michael Hofmann, BMZ; Camilla Toulmin, International Institute for Environment and Development; Michael Jenkins, Forest Trends; and Manfred Niekisch, IUCN.
Michael Jenkins, Forest Trends, said that forest protection contributes to combating climate change, maintaining ecosystem services and conserving biodiversity.
Michael Hofmann, BMZ, emphasized the need for monitoring mechanisms that take the effects of climate change into account.
Ahmed Djoghlaf, CBD Executive Secretary, said that the CBD needs to move beyond the conservation of species and habitats towards mainstreaming biodiversity into all sectors.
Camilla Toulmin, International Institute for Environment and Development, said environmental policies, such as subsides for biofuels, should not lead to negative impacts on development.
Policy Dialogue - Panel II
Panel II addressed options for implementation. L-R: Martin Meister, GEO Magazine; Benson Venegas, ANAI, Talamanca Initiative; Sven Harmeling, Germanwatch; Astrid Klug, Parliamentary State Secretary for the Environment, Germany; Peter Seligmann, Conservation International; Olav Kjørven, UNDP; and Jeff McNeely, IUCN.
Peter Seligman, Conservation International, said that today the main issue is not whether action is necessary, but how fast we can take action to combat climate change and biodiversity loss.
Astrid Klug, Parliamentary State Secretary for the Environment, Germany, said that industrialized countries have the responsibility to protect and restore their own biodiversity and to help poor countries protecting theirs.
Sven Hameling, Germanwatch, described NGO activities relating to avoided deforestation and adaptation to climate change.
L-R: Martin Meister and Peter-Matthias Gaede, GEO Magazine, chatting in the Dinosaur Hall of the Museum for Nature Conservation.
EQUATOR PRIZE AWARD CEREMONY AND DINNER
Charles McNeill, UNDP, opened the Equator Prize award Ceremony and dinner, noting that all participants can learn from the success of the winners in finding local solutions to environmental challenges.
The Equator Prize trophies are unique pieces of artwork.
Ahmed Djoghlaf, CBD Executive Secretary, presented the Equator Prize to representatives of the Village of Andavadoaka, Madagascar, for their success in sustainably managing octopus resources.
Peter Seligmann, Conservation International, presented the Equator Prize to Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha, Bangladesh, for establishing a network of river-boat based educational resource centers to deliver information on sustainable agricultural practices and market prices.
Jeff McNeely, IUCN, presented the Equator Prize to Alimentos Naturales, Guatemala, a local initiative that has resolved malnutrition, rural poverty and dependence on imported food stuffs by marketing Maya-nut-based school lunches to local school districts.
Gudrun Grosse-Wiesmann, BMZ, presented the Equator Prize to Asociación de Mujeres de Isabella “Pescado Azul, ” Ecuador, for marketing tuna smoked with guava wood as a way of promoting alternative uses of marine resources and controlling an invasive plant species.
Benson Venegas, ANAI, Talamanca Initiative, presented the Equator Prize to Shompole Community Trust, Kenya, for creating a robust, profit-driven eco-tourism venture, benefiting the Massai people, while conserving vast scenic grasslands and savannahs.
Ahmed Djoghlaf (left), CBD Executive Secretary, and Gudrun Grosse-Wiesmann (right), BMZ, signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the CBD and the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) for increased support by the GTZ to the implementation of the CBD.
Gudrun Grosse-Wiesmann, BMZ, lauded the winners’ contributions to biodiversity conservation and reiterated Germany’s commitment to contribute 0.7 percent of GDP to international development assistance by 2015.
In his closing remarks Ahmed Djoghlaf, CBD Executive Secretary, thanked the winners and all partners of the Equator Initiative for their commitment to implementing the CBD.
The winners of the Equator Prize 2006
Photographs courtesy of GeoMedia
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