Around 150 European experts will be discussing the role of floodplains and coastal wetlands in climate protection at a conference in Bonn until Thursday. It is important to tackle biological diversity and climate change together and to use synergies, said Thomas Graner, Vice President of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), at the opening of the conference.

On the one hand, wetlands are feeling the consequences of climate change, but on the other hand they can contribute to climate protection: they store carbon, reduce droughts, and contribute to flood protection, as Graner explained. Added to this is their importance as a habitat for animals and a place for people to relax. “Nature is our most important ally in the fight against the climate crisis,” said Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) in a video greeting.

According to experts, many areas around the world are threatened – in Germany, for example, only nine percent of river floodplains are in a near-natural condition. The effects of climate change that have been observed on these habitats over the past two years are obvious, said climate change expert Simon Duffield. “And it’s not getting better. We’re only halfway in the wrong direction,” he said. The aim of the conference is to develop evidence-based, powerful recommendations for policy, he said.