As the international conference on trade in endangered
species just ended, let’s recall one of its most prominent issues – the efforts
to prevent elephants from becoming extinct – and what the European Union and
its Member States are expected to do next.
Elephants are facing their worst crisis in
decades due to poaching for their ivory. Populations are thought to be falling
by about 8 percent annually and at least 20,000 African elephants continue to
be killed each year.
Result check: the role of the European Union to save endangered species.
The International Conference on Trade in Endangered Species ended. We provide a brief analysis and address future challenges for the European Union and its Member States.
Earlier this year, the
public was shaken up when an international forum of scientists demonstrated that
we are on the path to a mass extinction of unimaginable proportions. All the
more attention was paid to the three-yearly Conference of the Parties to the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
(CITES), which ended on 28 August 2019 in Geneva.
The CITES species conservation conference and the role of the EU
In May 2019, a report by IPBES, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity, shocked the world: One million species could disappear from the Earth in the coming decades. The report clearly identifies the exploitation of wild populations as one of the five main causes of mass extinction. In the light of such urgent warnings, it’s hard to believe that keeping up the trade ban on ivory and rhino horn still needs strenuous efforts. Further, countless animals of hundreds, if not thousands of endangered reptile, amphibian and fish species continue to be taken from the wild without any control, because the species still lack international protection.
world’s wild animals are in serious decline. Humanity has wiped out 60% of wild
animal populations since 1970. The International Union for Conservation of
Nature (IUCN)’s ‘Red List’ classifies a quarter of all mammals, a third of
sharks, rays and corals, and 40% of amphibians, as threatened with extinction.
Many more species may be falling under the radar.
Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, published
recently by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and
Ecosystem Services (IPBES), estimated that a million species may be at risk of
extinction, identified economic exploitation among the key drivers of
biodiversity loss, emphasised that ‘transformative changes’ are required to
restore and protect nature, and indicated the need for opposition from vested
interests to be overcome. These are strong words from an intergovernmental
body, and they come not a moment too soon.
I dare to assert that sporting activities, regardless of age, origin and actual motivation, are always based on a fundamentally positive idea – be it exercise in nature, improving one’s health, simply having fun or enjoying competition, the motivation for doing sports has a positive effect. Major sporting events such as the European Company Sport Games have long been a platform for numerous social welfare objectives. These include initiatives against social exclusion and the unequal treatment of men and women, as well as for uniting people.
Blocking progress or progressing towards a stronger and united European Union? This has been one of the core questions before the European Parliament elections. Right-wing and other populist parties haven’t been shy to claim that it is their fundamental objective to put national interests first and that they are willing to block consensus, thereby preventing progress in essential policy issues. They expected that these claims would secure important votes by EU-sceptics.
Those who want a secure and competitive Europe, first have to fight
climate crisis and environmental destruction. Dependence on fossil resources,
the ever-increasing costs of coping with the climate crisis, but also the lack
of concepts in dealing with refugees and migration, which will increase due to
impacts of climate change, are threats to Europe’s stability and solidarity and
restrict the EU’s ability to act.
It is therefore indispensable that the European Union takes a pioneering role in global climate and environmental politics. Not only for the sake of the environment, but also to ensure our long-term prosperity.
I am 35 years old, I have freckles and a loud laugh,
and I come from Germany. The fact that I was born here is pure coincidence, I
could just as well have been born somewhere else on this planet. When I have to
fill in the field “origin” on forms, I always find it strange to write “German”
– I would definitely prefer “Human”. I studied in Austria, spent my semester
abroad in Paris and then went back to Munich. I never felt Austrian, French or
German, but always like myself. Loud, cheerful and in the thick of it.
A plea to set the course for a common European environmental policy on
26 May 2019
Germany once was a trailblazer in environmental protection and a driving force for environmental progress in Europe. But these times are over. Our reputation in Europe has suffered. No other country is sued more often by the EU Commission in environmental issues – for example relating to air pollution control or fertiliser legislation. The current federal government represents a lack of courage and ambition in environmental policy. However, it would be right and important for Germany to once again assume an active and leading role in Europe’s environmental policy. Without Germany’s active commitment, Europe cannot effectively play its role in the world.
There are only two weeks to go
before we decide on how Europe is to be governed in the future, and who will
steer the fortunes of our continent in the European Parliament. And one would
hope that a pro-European decision in these elections would be a matter of
course. After all, there are so many good reasons for this European project.
Even if not everything is yet as we would like it to be for Europe.
Hungary has an emigration problem,
not immigration controlled by Soros.
The Hungarian Prime Minister calls
for the final battle to save the Hungarian soul and Christianity. In his eyes,
Hungary is threatened by Islamist mass immigration, operated by speculator
George Soros with support from the useful idiots leading the EU. Migration is the
weapon of the mortal enemies. Hungary was deceived after World War II, its
territory should be larger. Friends of a special kind are the Russians, loving
Hungary so much that they came to rescue the country in 1956. Unfortunately,
Alois Mock only cut the Iron Curtain instead of moving it to Hungary’s southern
border. A few decades later, Donald Trump would have helped with a wall.
The Heads of State and Government of the EU Member States will meet for the ‘Sibiu Council Summit’ on the 9th of May to discuss the future of Europe. For almost one year everything has been heading to this single day. Like a deer in the headlights — under the sword of Damocles called Brexit and only 3 weeks before the European elections — Europe seems to be paralysed: What will happen after the 26th of May, the last day of the European elections? Who is going to be the new President of the European Commission? Will the UK participate in the elections or not? And above all: in which direction should Europe move?
It was not love at first sight, nor a blind, hot
passion, but a grown, deep and profound love. A love which I am ready to defend
and fight for.
As a conservationist of the Hainburg generation I was
not a fan of this obscure and little-known construct in distant Brussels in
1994 when Austria decided on whether to join the EU. I saw accession more as a
danger to my concerns for nature, animal and environmental protection than as
The European Union: not perfect, but the best foundation for a sustainable future.
In these elections the future of the European Union
(EU) is at stake. And with it, all it has achieved and still has to achieve to
protect our environment. Dear reader, you matter, because you are entitled to
vote in the European Parliament elections in May 2019. Please use this
These elections are primarily about defending the idea of the European project, about defending civic space against destructive nationalism and populism. However, the elections also represent a chance to better protect our planet.
While for biographical reasons I own both an EU and a US passport, my heart beats for Europe, the so-called ‘old world’. Even if Europeans have long forgotten it, large parts of the world envy Europe for its achievements and quality of life. For over 70 years, most of Europe has lived in peace, with amazing social standards, a strong notion of democracy and a marvellous cultural, linguistic (and culinary) diversity.
The blog-article is the conclusion section of a new study about “Populism and Economic Dynamics in Europe” by Karl Aiginger and colleagues at the Policy Crossover center, Vienna. It serves as an incredible valuable and interesting analyses of populism and its impacts. The paper does also put forward a vision of Europe as a role model for high income, low inequality regions, with a new view of globalization, migration, and partnership with neighbors. Therefore, we believe it is an important contribution to better understand the situation but also how to react.
In my childhood days there were two television shows I never wanted to miss: “Jeux Sans Frontières” and “Einer wird gewinnen” (“One will win”). The first was a kind of Olympics where teams from different European cities competed against each other, the second a quiz show in which the name of the show was deliberately chosen so that, at least in German, the acronym EWG stood for the show as well as for the European Economic Community.
I cannot say whether I was born a European and therefore liked these programmes or whether these two entertainment shows turned me into one. But I still remember very well, what particularly fascinated me: It was great for me to see and hear people giving my mother tongue the flavour of their own languages. The candidates in these shows seemed both alien and lovable, exotic and familiar, distant and close, and above all: so interesting.