Online discussion series Thursday, 24. September 2020

UN Convention on Biological Diversity at a Crossroads?

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Date, Time
Thursday, 24. September 2020,
4:30 pm – 6:00 pm Save in my calendar
➽ Online Event

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free of charge
Heinrich Böll Foundation - Headquarter Berlin
Part of the series
Contested Nature

We cannot survive on a planet that consists only of spruce forests, cornfields and industrial pig farms. Our way of producing and consuming threatens the fragile web of life. A look at the state of our ecosystems shows an alarming extent of destruction of natural habitats and loss of biodiversity. The scientific community is warning of a sixth mass extinction.

2021 will be a key year for the protection of biodiversity. The 15th Conference of the Parties to the CBD aims to create a new framework for the United Nations’ international biodiversity policy. In view of Covid-19, the pressure to act is even greater, as the increasing destruction of nature is increasing the risk of pandemics. The wildlife trade, illegal deforestation, extraction of raw materials, industrial agriculture and, above all, animal rearing are all in need of a thorough review. But what can the international community contribute in this regard? How can we assess progress toward the CBD objectives? What are the lines of conflict and hurdles on the way to COP 15? And what are the demands of civil society? We are launching our “Contested Nature” online conference series with a statement of where we stand and an outlook, with a particular highlight on those aspects that are usually neglected in the nature conservation debate.


  • Barbara Unmüßig (President, Heinrich Böll Foundation)

  • David Cooper (Deputy Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity –CBD)

  • Chee Yoke Ling (Director, Third World Network)

  • Gunther Beger (Directorate General 1 – Global health, private sector, trade, rural development; German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development – BMZ)

  • Presenter: Christiane Grefe (Author, Global Gardening: Bioökonomie - Neuer Raubbau oder Wirtschaftsform der Zukunft? [Bioeconomy - New Overexploitation or Economic Form of the Future?] and editor, Die ZEIT)

Languages: simultaneous interpreting in German, English, Spanish

Free of charge

Contact: Kristin Funke, Heinrich Böll Foundation


T: +49 (30) 285 34 310


Note: This conference marks the launch of our series

Contested Nature: Land use, climate protection and new genetic technologies in the context of the debate on the protection of biological diversity

The issue is even bigger than climate change alone: Research is alerting us to the dramatic destruction of the natural foundations of life on Earth and warning of a sixth mass extinction. As early as 2010 – under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) – the international community committed to halting the global loss of biodiversity by 2020. Not only has this goal been missed; the global extinction of species has actually accelerated.

The next Conference of the Parties to the CBD (COP 15), postponed to 2021, is therefore of enormous importance: International biodiversity policy needs to establish a new framework and decide on new goals.

But the potential for conflict is great and there is a wide range of considerations vying for attention. Many, highly diverse interests are at play with regard to the protection, use and marketing of biological diversity. The focus in this regard is on questions of land use and access to natural resources as well as issues pertaining to assessing the impact of technology and its regulation.   

Contested Nature: Land use, climate protection and new genetic technologies in the context of the debate on the protection of biological diversity, a series of events jointly organized by Brot für die Welt, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Save Our Seeds and the Centre for Research and Documentation Chile-Latin America (FDCL), will therefore hone in on complex issues that often receive little attention in traditional nature conservation debates. In this context, we will also address the question of political influence on the CBD and the opportunities for and obstacles to civil-society engagement. The four online conferences will be held in German, English and Spanish.

Further events:

15 October: Gene drives – protecting people and nature through genetic extermination?
29 October:  Who will profit from biological diversity in the future? Digital sequence information (DSI) and its potential for new forms of biopiracy
18 November: Saving biodiversity and the climate with “natural climate solutions?

Please be advised that online events will be held using the software provided by Zoom. Depending on the type of event (that is, with or without audience participation), you may require a computer equipped with camera, speakers or headphones and / or a microphone in order to be able to take part.

You may either use the software client or the app. The internet browsers Chrome and Edge will enable you to participate simply via an access link. Further information on how to use Zoom is available here.

The access information will be sent to you via e-mail 24 h prior to the event and, again, 2 h prior to the event.

All events are subject to our privacy policy. The Heinrich Böll Foundation is not liable for issues arising from the use of Zoom software. The current Zoom privacy policy is available here.