Denmark appoints biodiversity committee

Group to integrate environment, biodiversity, concerns into planning ten years after Rio

Denmark is to develop a national plan for nature protection and the conservation of biological diversity, the government announced yesterday. It is expected to be developed by 2001 by a newly established committee with representatives drawn from the agriculture and environment ministries, as well as a range of NGOs, farming groups and academics.

Food and agriculture minister Ritt Bjerregaard, who served as EU environment commissioner until last summer, said the initiative was an important part of plans to integrate sustainable development into the wider economy. The committee's recommendations will form important input to the national sustainability plan Denmark is slated to present the following year at the ten-year follow up to the Rio Earth summit in 1992, at which the UN biodiversity convention was signed.

The plan is also a response to criticisms from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which singled out Denmark's lack of a consistent nature protection strategy in its latest country evaluation last year. According to recent surveys, 30% of Denmark's wild animals and plants are considered to be under threat.

Follow Up:
Danish food and agriculture ministry, tel: +45 33 92 33 01; Danish forest and nature protection agency, tel: +39 47 20 00.

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