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Enestam to the Development Co-operation and Biodiversity Conference in Paris

Publication date 15.9.2006 13.07
Press release -

Finland agrees to comply with the action programme for significantly reducing the current rate of loss of biodiversity.

Combining the protection of biodiversity and the European development co-operation is the theme of the Biodiversity in European Development Co-operation conference to be held in Paris on 19 - 21 September. The conference involves high level discussions about the double challenge of combatting poverty and conserving biodiversity. The European Union is the world’s largest instance granting development aid.

The conference is a meeting of approximately 400 high-profile guests, including ministers of development co-operation and the environment and representatives of business sector and non-governmental organisations from Europe and the co-operating countries. Finland as the Presidency of the EU is represented at the conference by Jan-Erik Enestam, Minister of the Environment. The conference will also be informed of the message of Paula Lehtomäki, Minister of Development Co-operation, emphasizing the importance of international co-operation.

Other high-level participants include Achim Steiner, Director General of UNEP, and Stavros Dimas, Environment Commissioner of the EU. Other speakers of the meeting are Brigitte Girardin, the French Minister of Development Co-operation; Nelly Olin, the French Minister of Ecology and Sustainable Development; and Agnes van Ardenne, the Dutch Minister of Development Co-operation.

The conference is arranged by the World Conservation Union IUCN and the European Commission, supported by the governments of Finland, Belgium, France and Sweden.

Enestam to sign the biodiversity commitment

Minister of the Environment Jan-Erik Enestam speaks at the conference on Thursday, 21 September. He will also sign the Countdown 2010 declaration, thus confirming Finland’s agreement to implement certain practical commitments to strive for achieving the so called 2010 target, which was set at the UN Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg. The goal is to reduce the current rate of biodiversity loss by 2010.

The background of the commitment is the Countdown 2010 Declaration, a worldwide initiative of the IUCN, designed to support efforts for achieving the goal set in Johannesburg and to assist in converting plans to practice. The initiative is supported by governments, NGOs, business sector and actors from several countries and from all levels of the society.

The significance of the theme Biodiversity and Development Co-operation
Ensuring environmental sustainability is one of the Millennium Development Goals, adopted by the UN Member States in 2000. The objective covers, among other things, the protection of biodiversity. Nature’s biodiversity is the foundation for almost all other development goals and a prerequisite for functioning ecosystems. Healthy ecosystems, in turn, offer people free ecosystem services, without which the subsistence of the poor, in particular, would not be possible.
The poorer an individual of the rural regions of a developing country is, the more he relies on products provided by the nature in everyday existence. These products include, for example, food, building material and firewood. The worse the condition of ecosystems, the greater the toil that the poor have to endure to acquire this vital material from the nature.
Conclusions and development ideas of the Biodiversity in European Development Co-operation conference will be utilised to outline the development co-operation and environmental policies of the European Union in the future.

More information:

Senior Adviser Marina von Weissenberg
Ministry of the Environment
Tel. 09 – 1603 9372, mobile 050-307 0806

Senior Environmental Adviser Matti Nummelin
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Tel. +358-9-1605 6108, mobile +358-40 503 8442,

Media contacts during the conference 20.-21.9.:
Communications manager Anne Brax
Ministry of the environment
Mobile: + 358 (0)50 5675 381