press release

Germans Call for Action on Global Wildlife Extinction 

A public poll conducted by renowned polling institute Emnid shows Germans expect more from their government to stop species extinction 

Bonn/Germany 18 March 2019: An important consultation meeting, largely unnoticed by the public, will take place tomorrow in Bonn, Germany. The important meeting is in preparation for the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which will be held in China in the autumn of 2020.  

As with climate change, scientific data point to a "red alert" for wildlife and biodiversity. Germans have taken notice and are calling on their nation’s government to provide global leadership to help address the problem. In fact, according to a recent Emnid survey commissioned by the Campaign for Nature, nine out of ten Germans expect a stronger commitment from their government and Chancellor Merkel to combat the worldwide extinction of species.  

“These results call for the German government to commit to ambitious goals for the conservation of biological diversity. This includes putting at least 30% of important terrestrial and marine habitats under effective protection by 2030, as demanded by leading scientists, and significantly increased financial commitments to achieve this goal,” said Georg Schwede, representative of the Campaign for Nature.  

While Germany is falling behind internationally in its efforts to combat climate change, the country has yet to demonstrate the leadership needed to protect wildlife habitats and halt the alarming rates of species extinction.  At the last CBD conference in November 2018 in Sharm El-Sheikh, the German delegates already blocked progress on important issues due to intra-ministerial disputes within the German government, succumbing to the nation’s powerful special interests.

Now the topic has reached the attention of the German voters.  According to the newly released public opinion survey, a staggering 95% of Germans find it ‘very important’ or ‘important’ to do more to address the worldwide extinction of species. The poll also finds nine out of ten Germans (89%) believe that the Federal German Government and its Chancellor Merkel have the duty to do more to combat the extinction of species. Three-quarters of respondents (77%) consider the issue to be just as important as the fight against climate change.  

Although species extinction is now ranked as one of the six most important global risks in terms of impact on humanity by the 2019 Global Risks Report of the World Economic Forum, the Campaign for Nature, an initiative of the US-based Wyss Campaign for Nature, finds it concerning that this issue is widely neglected by global leaders.  

On 31 October last year, philanthropist Hansjörg Wyss pledged one billion US dollars for the conservation of biological diversity. His foundation launched the Wyss Campaign for Nature, which calls for the effective protection of 30 percent of ecologically important land and marine habitats by 2030 as well as for adequate funding to manage protected areas. 

The drastic consequences and risks of global species extinction are real and frightening. All scientific studies and scenarios show this. "Taking a wait and see attitude is not an option," says Georg Schwede, representative of the Campaign for Nature. The citizens have understood and are expecting action, as the Emnid poll, the recent petition for a referendum on biodiversity in Bavaria and similar movements in other federal states demonstrate. "When will politicians finally wake up and react to the expectations of their voters?" asks Georg Schwede. He says “Germany has the opportunity to be a global leader – and demonstrate a path forward. Germany can and should lead a global coalition of nations in protecting at least 30% of the planet by 2030 and providing adequate financing for conservation”, and demands from Ms. Merkel "The issue must also be a matter for the boss in the Chancellor’s office!”



Dr Georg Schwede

Representative Europe, Campaign for Nature

mobile:+49 170 5571244

Klaus-Henning Groth

Communications, Campaign for Nature

mobile:+49 172 449 3366