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Brussels, 23 September 2010

Statement by Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for Environment, following the High-Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly celebrating the International Year of Biodiversity

Next month in Nagoya we are due to adopt a new global strategic plan of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. A plan that needs to ensure that we avoid dangerous levels of biodiversity loss and which will ensure that future generations will continue to enjoy the goods and services that nature provides. Today's meeting was a step in the right direction towards that goal.

Preserving biodiversity is not 'just' about conserving nature for its own sake. It means preserving ecosystems and the services that they provide, and their irreplaceable economic value. Nature provides us with everything from food and fuel to clean air and water. It will not be possible to achieve our development goals, including poverty eradication, if we do not succeed in Nagoya. Neither will we be able to mitigate and adapt to climate change if the loss of ecosystems continues at the current rate.

To achieve our biodiversity objectives a new level of international collaboration will be necessary. We will have to increase our efforts to preserve and use sustainably our natural capital. Ecological recapitalisation is just as essential as the financial recapitalisation efforts we have undertaken over the past two years.

The European Union committed itself in March 2010 to stepping up its efforts to avert global biodiversity loss and this is a pledge we will live up to.

I hope that in ten years' time the "biodiversity picture" will look very different throughout the world and that today's meeting is a step towards a future in which humans and nature co-exist in a sustainable and mutually beneficial way.

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