Speech by Steffi Lemke at the ninth plenary session of the World Biodiversity Council (IPBES 9)

Bundesministerin Steffi Lemke
Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke gave a welcoming address at the opening of the ninth general assembly of the World Biodiversity Council (IPBES 9) in Bonn.

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Dr Ana María Hernández Salgar,
Dr Anne Larigauderie,
Inger Andersen,
Dr Ursula Sautter,
IPBES experts,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

it has been five years since the last IPBES plenary session was held in Bonn. Welcome back!

The virtual plenary last year showed that international bodies can carry out their work without being present in one place. Nevertheless, we have all realised that virtual formats cannot fully replace face-to-face interaction. That is why I am delighted to extend a very warm welcome to you here in Bonn on behalf of the entire German government.

The world has changed since the seventh plenary session in Paris in 2019. We are living in a time of crisis. Peaceful cooperation is invaluable, particularly in times like these. I would like for this meeting to send a message against hostility and aggression and in support of multilateralism and the strength of international law.

This is also necessary because the major global environmental crises are getting worse – the climate crisis, environmental pollution and biodiversity loss. These crises still need our full attention. 

Species extinction, the biodiversity crisis, has still not fully entered public and political awareness. This urgently has to change. The global IPBES Assessment report has already taken us a big step forward. The report not only makes clear the extent of biodiversity loss, it also presents recommendations for action on how to navigate our way out of the crisis.

These recommendations are very useful. They can help us develop new global guidelines for action to protect species and ecosystems and support the sustainable use of nature.

It is very good news that CBD COP15 will finally take place in December in Montreal. I am confident that this will enable us to adopt an ambitious global agreement at the end of the year.

It remains crucial that this agreement is based on scientific findings and actually benefits biodiversity. IPBES and its experts make an extremely important contribution here. After all, the recommendation for a decision at CBD COP15 envisages that the IPBES work programme will support the implementation of the new framework.

The coronavirus pandemic has shown us how much we depend on science-based policy advice. IPBES has proven that it can also respond quickly to short-term political needs. The report from the IPBES workshop on biodiversity and pandemics stresses clearly that protecting global biodiversity is also vital for human health.

To give an example here of how my Ministry is building on the work of IPBES: In March, together with UNEP and CBD, we launched the Nature for Health initiative in the form of a multi-partner trust fund. The fund will support the shift away from nature destruction towards the restoration of nature. This will be flanked by measures ranging from sustainable agriculture to early warning systems.

With the fund, we want to bring the prevention of future pandemics to the fore by improving the health of people, animals, plants and ecosystems. To help with practical implementation, the German government will provide 50 million euros in seed capital from the International Climate Initiative. We are currently in the preparatory phase, the operative phase will be launched at COP15.

Over the next few days you will discuss and adopt two new assessments and present policy-makers with recommendations for action.

I am already looking forward to the planned IPBES Assessment of the correlations between business and biodiversity. Once again, IPBES is taking on a pioneering role by involving private sector stakeholders in compiling the Assessment.

I am delighted that with the launch of the Business and Biodiversity Assessment, our government will start supporting fellows nominated by Germany. This allows us to do our bit to also involve the next generation in international cooperation on biodiversity.

I am excited about the impetus the upcoming assessments will provide at national and international level. I wish you all every success in the negotiations over the next few days. Together, let’s send a message for peaceful coexistence and for multilateralism.

Thank you.

03.07.2022 | Speech Nature and Biological Diversity | Bonn

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