EURACTIV PR

An easy way of publishing your relevant EU press releases.

European Union asks Facebook fans to commit themselves for biodiversity

Date

20 May 2011

Sections

InfoSociety

The European Commission's DG Environment will today launch the next phase of its communication campaign for its biodiversity strategy to 2020. The launch coincides with the run up to the International Day of Biological Diversity (IDB) on 22 May, designated by the UN to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.
 
 
Building on the success of previous elements of the Biodiversity campaign, the new phase aims at sustaining longer-term relationships with individuals and groups. This phase offers those interested the opportunity to receive information and tips on how they can protect biodiversity, as well as suggesting interesting ways of making a commitment and getting friends involved too. It will also include guest bloggers consisting of experts in biodiversity-related fields. The centrepiece of this new phase is the visually stunning 3D application on the Biodiversity Facebook page, enabling fans to import all of their friends' profile pictures to form the shape of one of the Biodiversity mascots: the Red Squirrel, the Bluefin Tuna, the Oak Tree, the Frog and the Sparrow.
 
 
The EC's Biodiversity campaign has already had considerable success in 2010, with communication activities aimed at underscoring how connected humans are with Biodiversity. Street actions centred round the idea of loss took place around Europe, with striking visuals recalling the lines drawn around the victims at crime scene. More than 16 000 people participated in live events and took part in hands-on activities related to biodiversity. The website (www.weareallinthistogether.eu) had more than 3.7 million visits, the viral video had over 1.9 million views at last count, and there are more than 55 000 active users of the biodiversity application on Facebook. The Biodiversity campaign was awarded the 2010 "European Excellence Award" in the Environment and Ecology category.
 
 
 
Competition
 
In this new phase, Europeans can win a trip for two, with 100% CO2 compensated flights, to Transylvania, Romania. The winner will spend one week in the wilderness, enjoying rare wonders of nature and activities such as bear watching, with a private guide for the entire week. Transfers and accommodation are included.
So how can people be in with a chance? Simply by visiting the Biodiversity Facebook page going to the Biodiversify Your Friends application, then one can watch his/her friends' profile pictures swirl into the shape of a chosen mascot. When this is finished, people need to commit themselves to doing something to protect biodiversity. The commitment can be in words, video or through photos. The top ten commitments, as voted on Facebook, will then be judged by the European Commission to find the overall winner. The competition is open from 20 May until 31 July 2011. So, what will be your winning commitment?
 
 
 
Why is biodiversity important?
 
Biodiversity - the extraordinary variety of ecosystems, species and genes that surround us - is our life insurance, giving us food, fresh water and clean air, shelter and medicine, mitigating natural disasters, pests and diseases and contributes to regulating the climate. Biodiversity is also our natural capital, delivering ecosystem services that underpin our economy. Its deterioration and loss jeopardises the provision of these services: we lose species and habitats and the wealth and employment we derive from nature, and endanger our own wellbeing.
 
 
Current rates of species extinction are unparalleled. Driven mainly by human activities, species are currently being lost 100 to 1,000 times faster than the natural rate: according to the FAO, 60% of the world's ecosystems are degraded or used unsustainably; 75% of fish stocks are over-exploited or significantly depleted and 75% of the genetic diversity of agricultural crops has been lost worldwide since 1990. An estimated 13 million hectares of tropical forests are cleared each year, and 20% of the world's tropical coral reefs have already disappeared. In the EU, only 17 % of habitats and species and 11 % of key ecosystems protected under EU legislation are in a favourable state. This is in spite of action taken to combat biodiversity loss, particularly since the EU 2010 biodiversity target was set in 2001. The benefits of these actions have been outweighed by continued and growing pressures on Europe's biodiversity: land-use change, over-exploitation of biodiversity and its components, the spread of invasive alien species, pollution and climate change. Indirect drivers, such as population growth, limited awareness about biodiversity and the fact that biodiversity's economic value is not reflected in decision making are also taking a heavy toll on biodiversity.
 
 
 
It is clear that people need to take action now, , to become aware of the consequences of our habits, and change their own behaviour for the benefit of the planet. This is what DG Environment's Biodiversity campaign aims to achieve.
 
 
EU Strategy for Biodiversity
 
On May 3 2011, the European Commission adopted a new strategy to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU by 2020 - Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020.
 
 
The new strategy is in line with two commitments made by EU leaders in March 2010. The first is the 2020 headline target: "Halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020, and restoring them in so far as feasible, while stepping up the EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss"; the second is the 2050 vision: "By 2050, European Union biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides - its natural capital - are protected, valued and appropriately restored for biodiversity's intrinsic value and for their essential contribution to human wellbeing and economic prosperity, and so that catastrophic changes caused by the loss of biodiversity are avoided."
It is also in line with global commitments made in Nagoya in October 2010, in the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity, where world leaders adopted a package of measures to address global biodiversity loss over the coming decade.
 
 
There are six main targets, and 20 actions to help Europe reach its goal. The six targets cover: full implementation of EU nature legislation to protect biodiversity; better protection for ecosystems, and more use of green infrastructure; more sustainable agriculture and forestry; better management of fish stocks; tighter controls on invasive alien species; a bigger EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss
 
 

For more information:

Media contact for additional information:

Tomas Sweertvaegher
Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, Brussels
(Contractor to the European Commission)
tomas.sweertvaegher@ogilvy.com
T. +32 2 545 66 47

Links:

Campaign website
www.weareallinthistogether.eu

Facebook application: Biodiversify Your Friends
http://apps.facebook.com/biodiversity/

Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020
http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/biodiversity/comm2006/pdf/2020/1_EN_ACT_part1_v7%5b1%5d.pdf

EU nature policy:
http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/index_en.htm

Jobs

Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V. (BDI)
Referentin/Referent (w/m/d)
Friends of the Earth Europe
Corporate Accountability Campaigner
Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF)
Index Internship
Green European Foundation
Outreach and Communications Manager
Green European Foundation
Fundraiser
Institutional Shareholder Services Belgium SA
Internship (Corporate Governance Data Procurement)
Green European Foundation
Project Coordinator
European Centre for International Political Economy
Research Assistant (Trade & Digital Policy)