Sixth Ministerial Conference ‘Environment for Europe’
From 10 to 12 October 2007 the Sixth Ministerial Conference 'Environment for Europe' took place in Belgrade, Serbia. The Ministers adopted the so-called Belgrade Biodiversity Statement, via which they reconfirmed Europe's political commitment to the European biodiversity 2010 target to halt the decline of biodiversity by the year 2010.
ECNC had a strong involvement in the conference. ECNC's Executive Director Rob Wolters co-chaired the Ministerial-NGO Biodiversity Roundtable on behalf of European-ECO-Forum, together with the Norwegian Minister of the Environment, Mrs Helen Bjørnøy. Mr Wolters underlined - with reference to the EEA's Belgrade Assessment Report - that there is a clear risk that Europe will not reach its biodiversity 2010 target if efforts are not stepped up. He appealed to the Ministers to give special attention to supporting countries and stakeholders in EECCA and South-East Europe in their efforts to conserve their - still rich - biodiversity.
ECNC organized or co-organized the two official PEBLDS side event seminars at Belgrade:
- European Ecological Network - putting the network into practice, together with the Council of Europe, the SEENET focus group, the Netherlands, European ECO-Forum, and various other partners;
- Regions and local authorities as champions for biodiversity 2010, together with the Province of Noord-Brabant, Countdown 2010 Alliance, the governments of Croatia and the Netherlands, UNEP and other partners.
On behalf of ALTER-Net, ECNC organized a side event seminar on the policy-science interface and more in particular on how ALTER-Net could assist European governments and other stakeholders in implementing their policies and targets.
On behalf of the Dutch Province of Noord-Brabant, Dr Frank Petter, Mayor of Woudrichem and president of the region's local authorities' biodiversity 2010 working group, presented Brabant's Countdown 2010 success story. His message to involve local and regional authorities more strongly in the development and implementation of European nature and biodiversity policies was well-received and supported.
At the end of the Ministerial-NGO Roundtable session, ECNC's President Sir Brian Unwin and State Secretary Professor Nikola Ruzinski of the Croatian Government presented to Antonio Veres (age 11) from Zagreb the first prize in the ECNC SEENET Poster Competition for schools in South-East Europe and the Black Sea region. This ceremony underlined the importance Ministers attach to involving young people in nature and biodiversity conservation.
ECNC was also represented via an ECNC stand as part of the Countdown 2010 Biodiversity Lounge, and ECNC prepared various leaflets and brochures for the Belgrade Conference:
- a brochure on PEBLDS achievements since the Kyiv Ministerial Conference (2003), which was prepared together with UNEP ROE;
- a SEENET brochure on information and lessons learned in implementing the SEENET programme for ecological networks in South-East Europe and the Black Sea region;
- a leaflet on ALTER-Net, focusing on what ALTER-Net could offer to governments;
- a leaflet on the European Biodiversity Resourcing Initiative and the Task Force on Banking, Business and Biodiversity.
Together with UNEP, ECNC was in charge of preparing and distributing press releases for the biodiversity part of the Belgrade Conference.