Conservation of biodiversity is our common duty

In the past decade, Hungary has made unprecedented investments in nature conservation in order to preserve natural values – announced István Nagy, the Minister of Agriculture, at the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Montreal on Thursday.

The minister reminded that Hungary, through its new agricultural support system, is supporting the conservation and sectoral integration of biodiversity with a number of measures. The strategic plan for the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which will come into force from January, will have a great impact on biodiversity, as more than 50% of our country’s territory is an area under agricultural cultivation. He added that the agricultural support system, for example, has been extended to include a voluntary Agro-ecological Program. In this framework, farmers receive financial support for the preservation of biodiversity, increasing mosaic landscapes, improving the condition and water balance of soil, protecting pollinators as well as for measures supporting more sustainable use of pesticides. However, it is an important step forward compared to the previous ones, that areas wedged between agricultural fields and not used for production, at the same time being priority areas for biodiversity conservation may also receive financial support. Owing to this measure important edge habitat and wetlands will be able to grow – highlighted István Nagy.

The minister also drew attention to the developments carried out in our country in the last decade in order to maintain biological diversity. He also pointed out that on about 15% of our conservation areas, which make up more than a fifth of Hungary’s territory, more than 300 000 hectares, Hungary has improved and improves habitat condition, ensuring the infrastructural conditions for conservation management. The amount spent on investments exceeded EUR 300 million. Another goal is to make new nature conservation developments on at least 100,000 hectares over the next five years. More than 70% of the EUR 112 million allocated, will be spent on nature restoration and the development of infrastructure for nature conservation managementwhile the remaining part is planned to implement projects to improve nature protection, education, monitoring and renew our nature protection information systems – said the minister.

The Convention on Biodiversity was created three decades ago at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The significance of the convention is that it takes a stand on determining the relationship between society and wildlife together with biodiversity at the highest level of international politics. With the exception of the United States and Vatican, all states of the world are a member (196 parties) of the Convention. This event in Montreal is of historical significance, as here the countries of the world will approve the world biodiversity conservation strategy, which sets the main objectives for the next decade in order to reverse the tendency of a decrease in biological diversity around the world.

In the framework of the meeting the global strategy for the international regulation on GMOs until 2030 was also adopted by the countries of the world. Rita Andorkó, an expert of the Ministry of Agriculture, was invited by the Secretariat of the Convention to chair the meetings of the working group responsible for the development of the strategy. The fact that the working group has been chaired by a Hungarian expert is a serious professional recognition of the work our country is performing to reduce environmental risks of GMOs and make Hungarian agriculture GMO-free. Our country is represented at ministerial level at the convention’s meeting for the first time.