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Biodiversity is Life! - Green Week in Brussels

Biodiversity is Life! - Green Week in Brussels

Taking action to halt the rapid loss of biological diversity was the focus of this year’s Green Week, the European Commission’s annual conference and exhibition event dedicated to the environment. Under the banner Biodiversity is Life!, the Green Week took place from 30 May to 2 June 2006 in Brussels. Stephanie Schlegel and Rainer Müssner participated actively in the different sessions including "Understanding for management: research, indicators and monitoring"; "Biodiversity on the political decision table"; "The system of international governance and biodiversity" or "Reap what you sow: Agriculture and forestry".

As the biggest annual international event focusing on EU environment policies, the Green Week provided a unique opportunity for exchange of experience and best practice on how to preserve biodiversity between representatives from different levels of government, business, international institutions, non-governmental organisations and the scientific biodiversity community.

To preserve and restore biodiversity, EU Heads of State and Governments have agreed 'to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2010' and to restore habitats and natural systems. Although half of the time to reach this goal has already past, the decline of biodiversity continues unabated. The Green Week 2006 conference programme therefore looked at key aspects of EU biodiversity policy and potential approaches for strengthening cooperation with stakeholders to ensure the 2010 target is reached. Structured around four main strands - biodiversity as a global issue, the management of natural resources, space for nature and biodiversity and society – the sessions and workshops gave rise to some lively debates.

In some sessions, the inclusion of actors outside the environmental scene would have been an asset because those participating almost exclusively agreed that biodiversity loss is a central issue for concern and that stopping or halting the loss should be a top political priority. Larger numbers of stakeholders and actors from different backgrounds (industry, natural resource exploitation sector, etc.) weighing biodiversity conservation relative to other societal objectives (welfare generation, economic growth, employment policies) or outlining reasons for common obstacles for biodiversity conservation from their perspective would have been appreciated.

Keywords: Biodiversity, Governance, Green Week, natural resources, Europe, environment

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