Saving biodiversity: Researchers of IPBES receive EuroNatur Award

++ Researchers of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) are being awarded the EuroNatur Prize 2021 ++ Dramatic species extinction is a result of human activity ++ The biodiversity crisis and the climate crisis go hand in hand ++

three-toed woodpecker in Romania

Every animal has its place in the ecosystem – if species are missing, it affects the whole system. Here, a three-toed woodpecker in Romania.

© Matthias Schickhofer
Grasshopper on the grass stem

The current extinction of species has a particularly striking effect on insects, which has dramatic consequences for all animals, since insects are the basis of nutrition for many species.

Radolfzell. The rapid decline in insect numbers, the disappearance of many bird and plant species and the loss of habitats: a whole series of dramatic developments are concealed within this broad concept. Science has long been warning about the consequences of global species extinction, and, in recent years, especially researchers who have been producing expert reports for the IPBES (Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services). For their dedication to this cause, Dr. Eszter Kelemen (Hungary), Dr. Yunne-Jai Shin (France) und Prof. Dr. Josef Settele (Germany) will receive the EuroNatur award on 14th October 2021 on behalf of all the researchers working for the IPBES.

According to experts from the natural and social sciences, the crisis in species diversity will also severely affect humanity. A much-quoted example of the mass decline in insects has been the decline in pollinators in agriculture. When mangrove forests and coral reefs are destroyed, the coasts are vulnerable to tsunamis and storms. The causes of the dramatic decline in species are largely to be found in the activities of human beings: climate change, destruction of habitat, industrial agriculture or the over-fishing of the seas.

“The biodiversity crisis has been overshadowed somewhat by the publicity surrounding the climate crisis, but they are intimately connected and represent two of the greatest challenges for humanity,” said EuroNatur president Thomas Potthast. “The researchers of the IPBES have been analysing and documenting the threats to the animal and plant world and have been modelling the scenarios for possible future developments. The warnings as well as the tips for a biodiversity-friendly transformation of society need to be heard by the policy makers in order to prevent worse global catastrophes.” It was for precisely this reason that the executive committee chose the 2021 prize-winners. The committee were impressed, moreover, by the far-sightedness of the researchers: with a joint report the scientists of the IBPES and the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) recently made clear how closely the biodiversity and climate crises are related and emphasised that they must be tackled together. Indeed, calls are now being made to award this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to the IPBES, in the form of an opinion piece composed by, amongst others, the German Federal Minister for the Environment, Svenja Schulze. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change received the same award in 2007.

Background information:

  • EuroNatur-Award: Previous prize winners are the community of Mals in South Tyrol, Dr. Mario F. Broggi, Jonathan Franzen, Dr. Luc Hoffmann, Gudrun Steinacker und the „brave women of Kruščica“. The EuroNatur award, which has no prize money, is designed to honour the excellent achievements in nature conservation which unite humanity and nature. The EuroNatur award 2021 is being awarded at 17.00 on Thursday 14th October on the island of Mainau on Lake Constance.
  • The IBPES: The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services), founded in 2012, is a cross-national committee of the UN with its headquarters in Bonn. It has the remit to give scientific advice to policy makers on the themes of biological diversity and the performance of ecosystems. For this purpose, the member states of the IBPES nominate experts to produce reports.
  • The award ceremony will be broadcast live on the EuroNatur Facebook channel.

For further information: 
Anja Arning, anja.arning(at), Tel.: +49 (0)7732 – 92 72 13

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