Biodiversity is in strong decline on a global scale, including in Germany. To halt this downward trend, which is largely caused by human activity, the United Nations declared the decade from 2011 to 2020 the UN Decade on Biodiversity. The Decade supports the goals and the global measures of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). These are embedded in Germany’s National Strategy on Biological Diversity. The German UN Decade programme thus involves a range of activities to raise awareness of the conservation of biodiversity – the basis of life on Earth.
The German UN Decade on Biodiversity was officially launched on November 8, 2011. The associated programme is implemented by the Office of the UN Decade on behalf of and in close collaboration with the Federal Ministry of the Environment (BMUB) and the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN). In addition to public relations, newsletters, social media activities, a dedicated website and media relations, the central UN Decade instrument involves a competition for the award of UN Decade projects and contributions. To obtain best-practice examples, the UN Decade honours projects and contributions which work in an exemplary manner to conserve biodiversity and publishes them both in its newsletter and on the German UN Decade website.
Competition entries are assessed by an expert jury on the basis of transparent criteria, which are explained on the German UN Decade website. Projects are evaluated in terms of their contribution to the National Biodiversity Strategy and to biodiversity conservation, their multiplier effect, the level of cooperation with other stakeholders, the degree of innovation, their robustness and their relationship to the thematic focus of the UN Decade.
Awarded projects are entitled to use the title of UN Decade Project for a period of two years from the date of the award. Project developers may apply again after the two-year period has expired. UN Decade projects receive a certificate, an award in the form of a Biodiversity Tree and diverse public relations material. Anyone whose work involves biodiversity conservation and its sustainable use or biodiversity research and education can submit a project and enter the competition. The award does not involve the provision of any form of financial support.
Many well-known celebrities serve as UN Decade ambassadors and are biodiversity advocates. Current ambassadors of the German UN Decade are Anja Backhaus, Matto Barfuss, Ralph Caspers, Maren Eggert, Janus Fröhlich, Arved Fuchs, Michael Kessler, Cornelia Funke, Peter Maffay, Florian Möllers, Shary Reeves, Norbert Rosing, Nina Ruge, Sabine Spitz, Cassandra Steen, Dirk Steffens, Willi Weitzel, Sarah Wiener and Gabriela zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn.
Five youth ambassadors address the younger generation. The current youth ambassadors of the German UN Decade are: Adina Arth, Svenja Christ, Gerrit Öhm, Chiara Knüpfer, Alina Dürotin, Marvin Manzenberger, Justin Müller and Zarah Thiel. These all write regular blog entries for the UN Decade website.
Biological diversity serves human health and wellbeing in a variety of different ways. Diverse natural landscapes provide recreation areas for the benefit of body, mind and soul. These enhance our quality of life – not least by means of tourism and therapy programmes. In the form of plants, animals, fungi and microorganisms, biodiversity also forms the basis for many medicinal substances, many of which are still being discovered today. Biodiversity also provides the foundation for the functioning ecosystems that ensure the availability of fresh water, fertile soil and clean air.
Thus, in the two-year period covering 2017 and 2018, the UN Decade on Biodiversity will focus on the exemplary engagement shown in four key health and biodiversity areas:
UN Decade on Biodiversity – office
Phone: +49 (0) 2233 481 463
The German UN Decade on Biodiversity is partner of the IUCN initiative "Nature for all".