Biodiversity is the foundation of life. It is what we see, what we feel, what we hear, what we drink, what we eat, and what we need. Biodiversity is what surrounds us, it is what sustains us. When I hear the word biodiversity, I personally associate three things with it: variety, life and awareness. 9 million different living organisms inhabit our planet, a great diverseness that is not only unprecedented but also nonrecurring. The inexorable propagation of urbanization, the demolishing virtue of modern agriculture, invasive species and global warming have the potential to majorly subvert our biodiversity and, therefore, hazard the fate of all life. We have the chance to avert such a scenario, but in order to sustainably reconcile the issues of a plummeting biodiversity, we have to fight unitedly for this cause by raising awareness for biodiversity and striving against the lack of concern within society.
Last year I had the honor to represent Germany as a delegate in the J7 Summit 2015, the official youth summit under the presidency of the G7 Summit, where marine biodiversity was one of the main issues that was addressed. For almost two weeks we intensively discussed topics such as the protection of the marine environment, ocean acidification, climate change and resource efficiency.
Since then, I found a particular interest in the issues of education & public awareness, access to & transfer of technology and impact assessment as seen in the Convention on Biological Diversity.
As a youth advocate and delegate I had the opportunity to work with people from all various backgrounds to discuss sustainability and ocean preservation through youth forums, youth parliaments, academies and policy consultations with institutes and government institutions.
One of the main conclusions that was established by virtue of these experiences is the need for a new marine biodiversity treaty. When the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in 2015 that seeks to develop such a treaty, a legally-binding agreement on the protection of marine life beyond national jurisdiction, it was perceived as a landmark decision. And last week’s historical declaration of the Ross Sea in Antarctica as the World’s largest Marine Protected Area should be taken as precedent for further negotiations on the High Seas and consequently aid the development of a marine biodiversity treaty. We, as youth, have the choice and the chance to raise awareness for this issue in order to ensure the adequate conservation of our oceans. So let us recognize that all life matters and protect what sustains us!