On 6 December 2018, Cairo Climate Talks brought together experts from all disciplines to discuss the results of the fourteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity CBD COP 14.
In her welcoming remarks, Dr. Isabell Merring the Director of the German Academic Exchange Service pointed at the importance of biodiversity and the sensitivity of the topic. “On the academic front, research on biodiversity in Germany is very well established and developed and therefore, it is essential to exploit the vast potential of German universities in this field more extensively.” She went on to highlight the importance of international cooperation to tackle issues of such scale “Germany, being aware of that, understands that global themes of this scale cannot be tackled in the context of national borders alone, which is why the federal ministry of Education and research the (BMBF) has made the internationalization of science and research on biodiversity one of its goals through joint search with other countries.” Mr. Philippe Maupai, Head of the Science Department welcomed the Cairo Climate Talks audience and experts and again stressed on the importance of biodiversity and addressing its challenges “Protecting biodiversity is not only an important goal to protect all species on this planet, but also because our lives and livelihoods are dependent on it. Nature is the basis of our existence and our economy.” Mr. Maupai mentioned Germany’s efforts in supporting biodiversity maintenance and protection “Since 2013, Germany has been supporting the protection of Biodiversity with at least half a billion Euros per year. This makes Germany one of 10 countries that have more than doubled their contributions compared to the 2006-2010 average.”
In their discussion, the experts discussed the importance of biodiversity to Egypt and the world. Dr. Hamdallah Zidan, Head of Biodiversity Department at the Egyptian Ministry of Environment, talked about the importance of ecosystem goods and services and their lost monetary value. He pointed out that biodiversity is an integral component in the intricate system we live in starting from the air we breathe to the water we drink. Mr. Mohamed Raouf, executive coordinator of Nature conservation Egypt pointed out the importance of building empathy with nature and its creatures “To mainstream the conversation about biodiversity, you have to talk to youth, children, communities and businesses. For real change to happen you need to build empathy between those groups”.
In light of CBD COP14, Dr. Mostafa Saleh, chairman of Environment and Development Group, discussed the shortcomings of policies pertaining to biodiversity “Perhaps we have been trapped in a belief that you have to economically benefit from conservation, which is true on the long run. However, we have to realize that ecosystems are worth saving regardless of their profitability” he added “Egypt has a strong conservation law; however, we need stronger execution of those laws.” Mr. Stefano Panighetti, Program Manager for Environment and Climate Change at the European Union Delegation, stressed on the importance of local and native knowledge in preserving biodiversity. He also pointed out that the private sector is starting to realize the importance of biodiversity, Dr. Saleh continued to say that is why the CBD COP included ministers from different sectors like industry and mining.
Mr. Raouf highlighted the importance of aligning civil society efforts with government strategies to protect biodiversity. The experts all agreed that segmented work to maintain and protect biodiversity would reap more results if they are substituted with collective efforts including government, communities and civil society.
The Cairo Climate Talks are conceived, organized and hosted as a cooperation between the German Embassy in Cairo, the Egyptian Ministry of Environment, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit
(GIZ). For more information, please visit our website or contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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