NABU devotes 111th anniversary of its founding to biodiversity

NABU-Präsident Olaf Tschimpke vor der "Stoppt das-Artensterben"-Uhr. Enlarge image (© picture-alliance/ dpa) The United Nations has designated 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity. Reason enough for the German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) as official UN partner to devote this year – the 111th anniversary of its founding – to the dramatic decline in biodiversity. Globally, 16,000 species are regarded as threatened with extinction, that’s around a quarter of all mammals, a third of all amphibians and twelve per cent of birds. “The loss of species and habitats is a threat to us all and is, along with climate change, the most important challenge of the future,” said NABU President Olaf Tschimpke.

Anyone currently visiting NABU’s headquarters in Berlin can literally hear the clock ticking. There, the countdown is on for meeting the internationally agreed species protection goals set for the end of 2010. For these, the situation is just as dire as it is for efforts to save the world’s ecosystems. That is why Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel has kicked off the International Year of Biodiversity with an urgent call for a change of direction in species and habitat conservation. Ein Turmfalke wird im NABU-Artenschutzzentrum in Leiferde wieder in die Freiheit entlassen. Enlarge image (© picture-alliance/ dpa)

Founded by Lina Hähnle as the German Society for Bird Conservation on 1 February 1899, NABU has always given equal priority to practical project work, e.g. the creation of nesting places, and to societal debate on environmental issues.

NABU is still concerned with nature conservation on the ground – planting hedges, building toad-proof fences, setting up conservation areas – but nature conservation and species protection have become complex, multinational tasks. For instance, NABU is helping to protect Russia’s World Natural Heritage sites and to save Kyrgyzstan’s snow leopards from extinction. Its solid body of expertise is drawn on when drafting nature conservation regulations. NABU’s research institutes, technical committees and working groups address issues such as transport and energy policy or organic farming and forestry.

NABU currently has some 460,000 members and sponsors and is particularly proud of its large number of active voluntary workers. NABU is organized along federal lines. Its youth organization NAJU is one of Germany’s biggest children and youth organizations in terms of membership. Today’s NABU has become a strong voice among nature conservation societies worldwide.