Founders of nature laws awarded as WWF leaders | WWF

Founders of nature laws awarded as WWF leaders

Posted on 15 December 2015
Sastavci waterfalls, Plitvice Lakes National park, Croatia
© Wild Wonders of Europe /Maurizio Biancarelli / WWF

Brussels, Belgium –– WWF celebrates today four outstanding individuals as “Leaders for a Living Planet” for their work within the European Institutions to better protect nature. They are the founders of the EU Habitats Directive adopted in 1992, to preserve key threatened habitats and species in Europe. This Directive is still considered as one of the strongest pieces of EU environmental legislation.

 
WWF’s award publicly celebrates people who fight to protect nature and profiles their environmental leadership and the inspiring example they show to others.
 
Today’s Leaders for a Living Planet are Stanley Johnson, former member of the European Parliament and former official of the Commission and a long time defender of the environment; Henriette Bastrup-Birk, former member of the drafting team; Claus Stuffmann, former Head of Unit in charge of nature protection at the European Commission and Hemmo Muntingh who was the European Parliament’s Rapporteur on the proposal for the Habitats Directive.

Commenting on the Award, Geneviève Pons-Deladrière, Director of WWF European Policy Office said:

“While the European Commission is discussing whether to change the Nature Directives, it is important to remember and celebrate the people and values that led to the creation of such visionary laws for nature protection. These Leaders for a Living Planet are remarkable people who used their talent to build a Europe rich in nature. They must be an inspiration for today’s politicians and officials to continue on their path and ensure these laws are not questioned but simply enforced.”
 
Stanley Johnston, WWF Leader for a Living Planet, said:
 
"There is still some way to go in terms of implementation. But at a time when some people are questioning the value of the European Union, it must be right to point out that in the field of nature protection at least, the EU has led the way and has achieved results which, quite simply, would never have been possible without concerted action at EU level.”
 
Hemmo Muntingh, WWF Leader for a Living Planet, said:
"Legislation is crucial to protect nature in Europe today, and I am proud to have played a role in the making of the Habitats Directive. Financial support is also needed. This is why we created the LIFE programme in 1992 and this is why we should strengthen and increase the amount of money dedicated to nature law implementation."
 
The award ceremony entitled “For a Europe rich in Nature to 2020” will take place today at an event organised by WWF and the EU Luxembourg Presidency. Representatives from the EU Institutions, governments, businesses and NGOs will discuss the actions needed to better preserve Europe’s nature and reduce the pressure coming from harmful activities like unsustainable agriculture and energy projects.
 
On the next day (16 December) EU Environment Ministers will meet in Brussels and adopt conclusions on the Mid-Term Review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy – Europe’s Strategy to halt the loss of nature by 2020. WWF calls on Environment Ministers to reconfirm the central role of the Nature Directives to halt biodiversity loss by 2020 and urge them to step up their effective implementation and enforcement across Europe.
 
For media inquiries and interview and for participating to the event, please contact:
Stefania Campogianni, Senior Communications and Media Officer WWF European Policy Office, scampogianni@wwf.eu, +32 499 539 736
Andreas Baumüller, Head of Natural Resources, WWF European Policy Office, abaumueller@wwf.eu ,+32 2 740 09 21 
Sastavci waterfalls, Plitvice Lakes National park, Croatia
© Wild Wonders of Europe /Maurizio Biancarelli / WWF Enlarge
Stanley Johnson WWF Leader for a Living Planet
© Johnson Enlarge
Hemmo Muntingh WWF Leader for a Living Planet
© Muntingh Enlarge
WWF Leaders for a Living Planet
WWF Leaders for a Living Planet
© Bastrup-Birk Enlarge
WWF Leaders for a Living Planet
WWF Leaders for a Living Planet
© Edelgard Stuffmann Enlarge