Review: EMR Nature Forum / 11th Kleve Meeting
With around 100 participants from the entire EMR region, the conference in the Mensa Academica was an unqualified success. Besides the intensive exchange of views on current nature conservation measures, other highlights were the opening of the nature conservation station of the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) at Aachen by Johannes Remmel, environment minister for North-Rhine Westphalia, and the signing of the cooperation agreement for the Three Countries Park.
The conference, which was organized by Three Countries Park, the NABU nature conservation station in Aachen and the city of Aachen, was aimed at all those who are committed to nature conservation - be it professionally or on a voluntary basis in their leisure time. The objective was to bring together precisely these people in order to promote cross-border cooperation.
Directly after the welcome address by the City of Aachen’s new alderman, Dr Markus Kremer, the environment minister for North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW), Johannes Remmel, highlighted the great importance of the transnational biotope network, particularly against the background of biodiversity. Minister Remmel emphasized the problems of rising land prices, steadily falling food prices and the intensification of agriculture. He also officially opened the NABU nature conservation station in Aachen. Thanks to the financial support for the station by the State of NRW and the City of Aachen, it is now possible to hire people to look after nature concerns full-time.
To underline the importance of this cooperation, representatives from Limburg, Flanders and the CityRegion Aachen fired the starting gun for firmer collaboration in the future by signing the cooperation agreement of the Three Countries Park.
This official programme was followed by numerous lectures on topics related to nature. They included not only the presentation and discussion of conservation efforts around the beaver, the yellow-bellied toad and the red kite, but also reports on cross-border nature and species conservation projects. The lively exchange of the speakers’ and participants’ experiences regarding their nature conservation efforts was deepened by follow-up excursions into the EMR.
The organizers Dr Anja Brüll and Dr Manfred Aletsee expressed their complete satisfaction with the event. “The consistently positive response shows us that, in future, even closer cooperation across borders will be possible,” said Brüll. “The commitment of many volunteers to the conservation of biodiversity, which is already strong, will be further bolstered in the future through the professional work of the nature conservation station and the cross-border network,” Aletsee added.
Photos © Marc Hoffmeister