NABU, a German NGO protecting the climate to preserve biodiversity

The NABU (Naturschutzbund Deutschland e.V or Nature and Biodiversity Union) was founded in 1899 as the “association for bird protection”. After the reunion of Western and Eastern Germany, it merged with former Eastern German nature protection associations. Today, the NABU has around 660,000 members and donors, and thus belongs to the biggest environmental organization or NGOs in Germany. The NABU has regional and local groups, nature centers, a youth association, a magazine, and much more. The thematic areas of work are species and nature protection as well as environmental issue and resource use. In terms of climate change, the NABU promotes energy efficiency, energy savings and renewable energies in harmony with nature on the national level. It reviews the climate protection plans of the EU and Germany and is involved in Germany’s “Energiewende” (away from coal and nuclear power) and the transformation of the transport sector.

International work on climate

Besides its focus on national and regional nature conservation, the NABU has a few international projects which focus on nature conservation but do have considerable overlaps with for example climate protection or social aspects. For example, there are projects in Africa and Asia to conserve forests and peatlands whose ability to store carbon needs to be preserved.

The NABU has been sending a small delegation to the COPs of the UNFCCC since the early 2000s. The NABU has an accredited observer status and participates in the COPs to promote its values and highlight the need for climate protection to protect biodiversity. The latter stems from the nature conservation focus of the NABU.

At the COP, the NABU engages with different delegations to discuss what they feel should be considered during the negotiations. Of course, the NABU meets with the German delegations, especially from the environmental committee, but also with delegations from other countries. The NABU benefits from being a member in two networks: firstly in “Birdlife International” and secondly in “CAN” (Climate Action Network). Both networks are important to arrange delegation meetings and to receive information during the sessions about the ongoing negotiations. As there are many plenary sessions and informal meetings regarding various agenda items taking place during the intersessionals and the COPs, it is very difficult to keep up with the negotiations. Without the networks, the small COP team from the NABU wouldn’t be able to have an overview of what is going on, or fully understand how they can contribute. Other tasks for the NGO during the COP are public relations work to keep the debate in Germany running and participating in or co-organizing side events. The NABU will also be present at COP24 in Katowice, Poland this year.

Want to learn more? Find NABU online at their website or on Twitter @nabu_klima

This article was written by COP24 Delegation Candidate Nora Wissner, based on an interview with Sebastian Scholz—team coordinator for energy and climate at NABU. Photo by Sebastian Scholz at the Climate Change Negotiations in Bonn, Germany.