Dear Mr. Südbeck,
Dear Representatives of the Secretariat Offices in Jeju and Menorca,
Dear Representatives of MAB-National Committees,
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
it is a pleasure to welcome you on behalf of the German Commission for UNESCO at this 10th meeting of the World Network of Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves today.
I thank sincerely all participants of the conference for coming and for your commitment.
My special thanks go to the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Wadden Sea of Lower Saxony for organizing this meeting.
2022 - What a special year for you! 30 years ago, the „Wadden Sea“ became UNESCO Biosphere Reserve! Since then, here in Wilhelmshaven, you have been implementing and transmitting sustainability.
And you do not act alone, but together with your partners: The Wadden Sea itself stands for international cooperation, as it stretches along the coasts of the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark. You take this natural incident seriously. Thank you for your coordinated effort.
You actively contribute to local negotiation processes between economic and political actors to implement climate change adaptation.
This is also evident in the national resonance for your network: The German Commission for UNESCO co-initiated a parliamentary circle for biosphere reserves in the German Parliament. It is the first of this kind worldwide. I was impressed by experiencing myself the great resonance at the national level from parliamentarians.
Your international network with 86 Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves is an excellent way to strengthen this resonance globally.
UNESCO Biosphere Reserves are laboratories for sustainable development. They offer solutions to pressing local and global challenges. They are actively and innovatively engaged in biodiversity conservation, education for sustainable development, and climate change adaptation.
Developing solutions for these challenges requires exchange and to learn from each other: The World Network of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves has been doing this for just over 50 years. By means of your World Network, you enhance these efforts. Already for 10 years now, you contribute to foster the exchange specifically in the area of the global coastal zone. Thus, you contribute to a sustainable world on land and in the sea.
2022 – What a special year for all of us. Your meeting takes place at a critical point in time!
It is taking place at a time of change and enormous challenges. Climate change is one of these challenges we have to face. And we have to face it now.
This is what the UN calls upon in the “Decade of Action“ for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the Agenda 2030.
Two additional decades are currently proclaimed by the UN until 2030 to reach these overall goals. They underline how important your network and your work are:
First, the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
Second, the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
These three decades need our concerted effort for success.
And this is, what you contribute to in your world Network of Island and Coastal Biosphere Reserves: The exchange of know-how on climate protection and climate adaption as well as ecosystem restoration in this meeting is central to this success.
“Together for change” is our priority theme for our National Commission in 2022. With your work, you prove: In our UNESCO-networks we have huge potential for implementing this change.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you most warmly to your achievements and I wish you all the best for your future work.
The German Commission for UNESCO is delighted to support you on your way.
I wish you fruitful discussions and lively exchange in the coming days here in Germany.