133 European NGOs today demonstrated to demand more money to protect and enhance biodiversity, as EU Heads of State assembled in Brussels to bargain over the EU budget.
The NGOs said that with nature conservation glaringly absent from the discussions on the future of Europe and the EU budget, BirdLife Europe – led by BirdLife Malta’s German partner NABU – called on those gathered to break the “Silence of the Leaders.”
Demonstrators gathered close to the European Council on Rue de la Loi, dressed up as the different EU Heads of State, wearing ‘Silence of the Lambs’ inspired masks.
Calling out the lip service that the EU pays to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), BirdLife Europe – supported by 132 other organisations which include BirdLife Malta and other eNGOs from Malta – demanded that empty words be backed up with concrete budget actions: “Break the ‘Silence of the Leaders’ – more money for nature in the next EU Budget!”
“The EU’s lip service paid to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals must change into concrete and substantive budget figures for nature. If EU leaders are to regain credibility with their citizens, they must show that they are serious about biodiversity and its essential role in the planet’s survival,” remarked Harriet Bradley, EU Agriculture & Bioenergy Policy Officer, BirdLife Europe.
“Protecting our natural heritage isn’t optional, it’s mandatory,” said Olaf Tschimpke, President of NABU (BirdLife Germany). “Nature financing is a sustainable investment returned to us by nature with high-interest rates in the form of valuable ecosystem services like pollination of crops by insects.”
“However, in some protected areas of Germany the total biomass of flying insects has declined by up to 75 percent over less than three decades. The current approach of financing biodiversity has obviously failed to deliver which is why chancellor Merkel and her colleagues must stand-up today and ask for a significant increase for nature financing in the next EU budget,” he added.
Photograph by Sonia Goicoechea