Over a three-day period from October 20 to 22, the online conference focused on underlining how nature was the cornerstone of various dimensions of human life, society and the economy. It highlighted tools and strategies against biodiversity loss, and the EU’s strong commitment to it, including via the newly-launched Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity and the EU biodiversity strategy towards CBD COP15. The event also delved into the impacts of COVID19, and how the recovery offered an unprecedented space for a fresh start, in the knowledge that transformative change is possible, and needed. Higl-level speakers agreed that the current context represents a chance to rethink our relationship with nature, to change the activities that are driving biodiversity loss and the wider ecological crisis, and to weigh up the implications for our economy and society. The Green Week also examined how EU policies, such as the European Green Deal, can help protect and restore nature, leaving it room to recover and thrive.
Highlights of the more than 30 insightful sessions included:
• Thursday, October 22, 2020, 10:45-11:45 – Session 6.1. “The EU’s Contribution To Achieving Global Biodiversity Goals“
The discussions considered how international action to address the drivers of biodiversity loss could be scaled up, with a view to achieving and implementing the new deal for nature and people. Led by eminent speakers, including Koen Doens, Director-General, Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, European Commission or Felipe Garcia Echeverri, Ambassador of Colombia to Belgium and Luxembourg and Head of Colombia’s Mission to the EU and NATO, the discussion explored path for international progress on biodiversity governance.
“Public opinion in civil society is going to be critical, inside and outside of the negotiation rooms. All countries need to understand we cannot fall short of the expectations, for present and future generations. When it comes to biodiversity, we are running out of time.” Felipe Garcia Echeverri, Ambassador of Colombia to Belgium and Luxembourg and Head of Colombia’s Mission to the EU and NATO
• Thursday, October 22, 2020, 10:45-11:45 – Session 6.1. “Nature is everyone’s business – building a business for biodiversity movement”
There will be no business on a dead planet. From this relalization, the Business for Nature coalition moderated a session which explored how the private sector was taking leadership in biodiversity-positive actions and strategies, how to scale them up, and what the role of policymakers was to facilitate such progress. Standing behind Business for Nature’s high-level policy recommendations that place nature at the heart of the global economy, the event examined the collective level of ambition and action required to halt biodiversity loss, and called for an acceleration of tranformative change at all levels.
Business for Nature has also launched a consultative process to gather view of representatives from the private sector, on their hopes and goals for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. The consultation is available here, and open until November 13th, 2020
• 14:00-15:30 – “Closing Session ‘On The Road To Kunming”
The closing session of the EU Green Week reflected on the main lessons learnt over its various events, drawing conclusions from the multitude of speeches, debates and workshops that shaped the 2020 edition. Speakers highlighted how the EU could lead the way on protecting biodiversity, deliver its Green Deal, Biodiversity and Farm to Fork strategies, and open the path to a genuinely ambitious deal for Nature and People at the upcoming global biodiversity summit Kunming, China.
“We are living a very special moment, and your engagement is central. Climate change and biodiversity loss are happening before our eyes, and the need to act has never been clearer.” Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission
Above all considerations, participants agreed the time to act was now, and that urgent cooperation amongst actors was needed to bring forward a transformative biodiversity agenda, to take one more step towards reaching the 2050 Vision of Living in Harmony with Nature.
This year’s Green Week acted as a milestone on the path to the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 15), now planned for 2021, where world leaders will adopt a 10-year action plan for biodiversity – a new global deal for people and nature.
Here is the full sessions’ agenda.