Dresden Nexus Conference 2022: Protecting Biodiversity Requires Joint Action

Under the theme "Biodiversity - Stewardship for Vital Resources", the fourth Dresden Nexus Conference (DNC2022) from 23 to 25 May was dedicated to one of the most pressing questions worldwide – how can biodiversity be preserved and protected? The approximately 350 participants from more than 60 countries also discussed the question of what role biodiversity plays or should play in the concept of the Resource Nexus, i.e. integrated perspectives on the use of vital resources. The international online conference was co-organised by the United Nations University (UNU-FLORES), the Technische Universität Dresden (TU Dresden), and the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER).

Dresden Nexus Conference 2022: Protecting Biodiversity Requires Joint Action

Just one day after the International Biodiversity Day on 22 May, the Dresden Nexus Conference (DNC) series offered a broad platform for inter- and transdisciplinary exchange on pressing issues of sustainable development for the fourth time. Biodiversity is existential for human life and survival and is linked to a whole range of other current challenges. A wide variety of important Resource Nexus issues were therefore discussed in 22 sessions, including those related to climate change, the agricultural and food economy, urban and regional development, and the circular economy. The sessions also focused on the role of biodiversity in the respective thematic context.

Four keynote speeches by renowned experts provided food for thought for the discussions and exciting insights into international activities. Elizabeth Maruma Mrema from the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Hien T. Ngo from the Secretariat of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture of the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), Prof. Tan Puay Yok, Director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens and scientist at the National University of Singapore, and Dr Bram Edens from the United Nations Statistics Division provided insights into biodiversity research as well as global efforts to conserve and restore biodiversity.

The presentations and discussions made it clear: Protecting biodiversity requires joint efforts – across disciplinary and sectoral boundaries. Science, politics, administration, and civil society can best protect biodiversity if they tackle the challenge together. With the DNC2022, UNU-FLORES, TU Dresden, and IOER serves as a fitting platform for exchange. The organizers are confident that new contacts and networks will develop from the event.

Joint Final Statement on the Role of Biodiversity in the Resource Nexus

A first joint activity has already been launched during DNC2022: Participants are jointly developing a final document entitled “Recognizing the Complex and Interwoven Role of Biodiversity in the Resource Nexus”. It will set out the participants’ shared understanding of the role of biodiversity in the Resource Nexus and is intended as an important starting point for future research in this area. DNC2022 participants have until 31 May to submit their comments on the document. In June, the DNC organizers will publish the finalized version.

Further information on the joint statement     

Presentation of the PRISMA Award on the Theme of DNC2022

For the second time, the PRISMA – Sustainability Assessment and Policy Award of the network was presented at the DNC. The PRISMA – Centre for Sustainability Assessment and Policy had called on researchers to apply with outstanding publications on the topic of the DNC2022. More than 50 international and highly relevant submissions presented the jury with a difficult choice. The PRISMA Award 2022 goes to an international team of authors led by Dr David R. Williams from the School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, and the article “Proactive Conservation to Prevent Habitat Losses to Agricultural Expansion”. The article was published in the journal Nature Sustainability. It deals with the question of how to reconcile the additional land use to be expected from agriculture in the future with the urgently needed protection of habitats and biodiversity and identifies possible solutions.

Further information on PRISMA – Centre for Sustainability Assessment and Policy 

Link to the winning entry

Voices of the Organisers

Dr David Malone, Rector, United Nations University

"I am delighted that the Dresden Nexus Conference encourages global dialogue on the value that the Nexus Approach brings to solving the challenges faced by our planet. Biodiversity loss will have catastrophic implications for generations to come, unless we can take urgent action through sustainable, interconnected environmental resource management. The Dresden Nexus Conference provides an ideal platform for the much-needed intersection of policy and science to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals."

Prof. Edeltraud Guenther, Director, UNU-FLORES

"Embedded in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the DNC paves the way for an accurate and empirically grounded understanding of the Resource Nexus among scientists and the broader professional community, as well as for the integration of Resource Nexus concepts into policy design and implementation. Perhaps most importantly, this event will foster a community of practice for the sustainable management of environmental resources – across academia, policy, practice, and civil society. The Resource Nexus goes beyond water, soil, and waste; it encompasses all relevant environmental resources, including energy and other geo-resources as well as biodiversity."

Prof. Wolfgang Wende, Head of Research Area Landscape, Ecosystems and Biodiversity, IOER

"DNC2022 has highlighted many ways in which biodiversity can be conserved and restored. Looking ahead to the World Biodiversity Summit in Kunming, China, at the beginning of October, it would be very important to agree on ambitious and concrete goals there. Above all, it must be possible to operationalize them. This is the only way to measure how well implemented measures help to achieve the goals. At the DNC2022, we saw many good examples from practice. They show: Serious biodiversity conservation is possible."

Dr André Lindner, Managing Director School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, TU Dresden

"We have to ask ourselves the question – is it really the last chance to see a lot of species alive and in their natural habitat? – or the last chance to see the possibility to counteract ongoing biodiversity loss, and hence securing the very fundamentals of our development and well-being. With the DNC conference series sustainability as well as transfer and internationalisation as essential key values of the organizing institutions are put into action to contribute towards sustaining the environmental life support system of our society."

About the Dresden Nexus Conference

The Dresden Nexus Conference (DNC) is an international conference series. It focuses on the discussion of current research and real-world cases that contribute to the further development of a nexus perspective in dealing with natural resources. Since its inception in 2015, DNC has been a meeting point for academics, UN agencies, decision- and policymakers from UN Member States, businesses, and civil society from the local to the global levels. DNC aims to bridge the gap between research and practical implementation through the lively exchange of all participants. For the very successful realisation of the 2020 conference as a virtual event (eDNC2020), the organising institutions UNU-FLORES, IOER, and TU Dresden received the eku erfolg – Zukunftspreis (eku success – Future Award) of the Saxon Ministry of the Environment (SMEKUL) in 2021.

DNC2022 is co-funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG/WE 3057/8-1).

More information on DNC2022

The Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development is jointly funded by the federal government and the federal states.

FS Sachsen

This measure is co-financed by tax funds on the basis of the budget approved by the Saxon State Parliament.