Green Week 2010 puts biodiversity in the spotlight

Four years ago the European Commission’s annual ‘Green Week’ conference examined the progress towards the target of halting the loss of biodiversity by 2010, carrying a positive “Biodiversity is Life!” strapline. Speaking for the UK’s Labour Government, the then Minister in charge of biodiversity, Barry Gardiner MP questioned the general public’s awareness of biodiversity loss, not to mention the apparent lack of understanding of what the term actually meant. Four years on, in the context of the International Year of Biodiversity, this year’s ‘Green Week’ fittingly brings biodiversity back into the spotlight. The conference provides a forum for a week of investigation into how to take the EU’s biodiversity policy forward post-2010.

Three days of discussion will address the pressing issues affecting Europe’s nature – what new policy responses are needed? How can the EU best value the remaining resource and measure the ecosystem services the continent’s nature provides? How can it properly maintain and expand its now long-established Natura 2000 network? 3,800 delegates from the public, charity, scientific, academic and business communities are joining representatives from the EU institutions to answer these questions.

Amongst the opening presentations was a speech by the European Environment Agency’s Executive Director Dr Jacqueline McGlade, who unveiled a new Biodiversity Information System for Europe (BISE), which centralises information about European biodiversity in a new web portal. Combined with the new Biodiversity Baseline, which provides a shapshot of the current state of biodiversity, the EEA and European Commission hope this partnership project will make the monitoring of progress towards renewed efforts to halt biodiversity loss a lot easier.

To catch up on the week’s activities, the Green Week 2010 website has details of the thirty sessions taking place, with video links to many of the proceedings.