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In October 2020, the European Council adopted the European Union (EU) biodiversity strategy for 2030 as a major part of the European Green Deal to make the continent’s economy sustainable. The deal provides an action plan to boost the efficient use of resources through the creation of a clean, circular economy and to restore biodiversity and reduce pollution. Around EUR 20 billion in biodiversity funding will be made available annually as part of the initiative. Funding to the value of at least EUR 150 billion for the period 2021 to 2027 has also been earmarked for those regions most affected by move towards a climate-neutral economy. The Just Transition Mechanism will free up funds to these regions in order to alleviate the socioeconomic impact of the transition, thereby ensuring that no regions are left behind.
Eighty-two countries participating at the UN Summit on Biodiversity in 2020 have signed up to the “Leaders Pledge for Nature” that commits to reversing biodiversity loss by the end of the decade. According to the findings of the summit, loss of biodiversity and ecosystem degradation represent a real existential threat to life on the planet. The summit summary concludes that
“the recovery efforts from the COVID-19 pandemic present an opportunity to emphasize actions to protect biodiversity and build a more sustainable, resilient world.”
The emergence of deadly diseases including Covid-19 are a consequence of human imbalance with nature as the natural wealth of ecosystems are devastated. The World Health Organization reports that up to 75 percent of new or emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic in origin. According to US virologist Dennis Carroll, Chair of the Global Virome Project and former director of the USAID Pandemic Influenza and other Emerging Threats Unit, there are currently around 1.7 million viruses derived from 25 different virus genus in existence. Of this number, around 600,000 could potentially be hazardous to human life. The UN finds that the twin challenges of the global pandemic and the ongoing destruction of the environment must be fought in concert – with nature-based solutions embedded in Covid-19 recovery attempts.
As a signatory of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Germany is working across the globe to protect biodiversity. Within Germany, the Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) is promoting the country’s commitment to protecting biodiversity within the framework of the National Strategy on Biological Diversity to reverse the biological diversity trend by 2030. The National Research Platform for Zoonoses is an information and service network for all scientists active in the field of zoonoses research in Germany that is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). In the field of biodiversity, the BMBF Research Initiative for the Conservation of Biodiversity bundles research activities in order to contribute to reversing the loss of biodiversity.
Germany’s commitment to biodiversity is helping create new opportunities for innovative companies active in the circular economy. The BMBF and BMU fund an array of research and implementation measures with the aim of halting biodiversity loss through the provision of ecosystem services and sustainable usage strategies. The BMU also supports the activities of Global Nature Fund and Environmental Action Germany in providing information services and an overview of existing biodiversity markets to companies, financial service providers and NGOs.
Companies interested in expanding to Germany and entering the circular economy or contributing to the country’s biodiversity research efforts can contact the Germany Trade & Invest team for more information.