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Logos GTZ und GEOOasis in the Sahel and in the metropolis

GTZ presents actions and results of the first „GEO Journée de la Biodiverité“ in Africa at the main event of GEO Day of Biological Diversity in Berlin

An exceptional sight: Instead of picnic baskets and barbecue accessories visitors of Berlin’s Tiergarten park carry binoculars and insect nets with them. All this on an early Saturday morning with drizzle and temperatures of about 10 degree C.

Photo:  Inventory of trees (D.Bange)It’s the main event of the GEO Day of Biological Diversity on 11th June 2005 organised by the magazine GEO der Deutschen Umwelthilfe and the Deutschen Wildtier-Stiftung. 100 experts along with interested citizens, schoolchildren, teachers and youth groups conduct a 24 hour survey of the biological diversity of Berlin’s popular municipal park. Among them is the Federal Minister for the Environment Jürgen Trittin, the patron of this year’s GEO Day of Biological Diversity. Like the other participants Trittin is not discouraged by the wet and cold weather.

Foto: Bio-inventory in Tiergarten (D. Bange)The area of the bio-inventory is a green oasis in the middle of the Berlin metropolis, subject of numerous conflicts of utilization between nature conservation and the demands for urban local recreation. The inventory of the Geo Day of Biological Diversity reveals that the Tiergarten is a veritable oasis of biodiversity: Despite unfavourable weather conditions more that 1000 species can be identified and classified, e.g. the spotted woodpecker and an ancient medicinal plant named “Herzgespann”.

On the final session of this year’s GEO Day on Biological Diversity at Sony Centre Ute Böttcher reports about a very different kind of oasis. Böttcher works as policy advisor in the Malian Ministry for Environment on behalf of GTZ. She has organised the GEO Day of Biological Diversity in Mali in the Land of the Dogons on 04th June 2005 in cooperation with GEO, the Mission Culturelle de Bandiagara, the German Development Service (DED) and the GTZ BIODIV Project.

Photo: Ute Böttcher (GTZ)On an excursion some 100 scientists, politicians, environmentalists, journalists as well as Dogon healers, hunters and farmers conducted a survey of biological diversity of the escarpment ‘Falaise de Bandiagara’ and the Dogon plateau from the perspective of modern science and traditional knowledge. With about 1000 inhabitants of the neighbouring villages participating in the side events the GEO Day in Mali had a considerable impact in terms of environmental communication and nature conservation-related awareness raising. Articles in newspapers and a report broadcasted by Malian TV station ORTM have contributed to communicate issues of natural resources, their conservation and sustainable use on national level.

Böttcher explaines the unique rich biological diversity along the impressive escarpment that usually only exists in more humid zones in the south of West Africa and which is due to the water reservoir of the Dogon plateau. Böttcher presented photos taken by GEO-photographer Ingo Arndt showing the natural beauty and the rich culture of the Land of the Dogons as well as impressions from the GEO-Day of Biological Diversity in Mali, taking the audience for a short moment from wet and cold Berlin to West Africa.

Foto: GEO Editor-in-chief M. Gaede, Ambassador Diakité, U. Böttcher, al-Janabi (GTZ)Among the visitors is Mali’s Ambassador in Germany, her Excellence Fatoumata Siré Diakité. Subsequent to Böttcher’s presentation the Ambassador thanks for GEO and GTZ for the fruitful cooperation. She underlines that the GTZ is an important partner for her country. This is the reason why she visited GTZ headquarters in Eschborn shortly after her assumption of office. “I hope in future there will be more GEO Days of Biological Diversity in Mali.”, Diakité says.

The GEO Day of Biological Diversity in Mali was financially supported by:

  • the GTZ sector project ‘Implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity’ (BIODIV Project)
  • the GTZ sector project ‘People and Biodiversity in Rural Areas’ (People & Biodiv)
  • the GTZ Convention Project to Combat Desertification (CCD Project) www.gtz.de/desert

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