In the face of numerous global challenges, the environment should not be forgotten, says Lemke – and also takes responsibility for civil society.

After the second United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (Greens) is optimistic about the next major challenges. “I’m very confident about the three international conferences in the field of nature and marine protection this year, which are supposed to make decisions,” said Lemke of the German Press Agency at the end of the UN conference.

In August, the global agreement on the protection of biodiversity on the high seas (BBNJ) is to be finally negotiated in New York. At the beginning of November, Egypt will then receive the participants of the COP27 world climate conference in the coastal town of Sharm el Sheikh. And in December, the second part of the COP15 session of the Convention on Biological Diversity will take place in Montreal, Canada.

Environmental protection and nature conservation will “not be a sure-fire success in the next few years, despite all the commitments to it,” emphasized the minister. She also shares the “absolutely justified fear” of many that the complicated current situation with the Ukraine conflict, inflation, energy and food crisis could lead to environmental protection being neglected. Therefore, it needs “constant support and pressure from civil society”. Lemke said: “The fact that the climate crisis threatens us very closely in Europe is perceived very strongly.”

The minister comes from Saxony-Anhalt, which, like Brandenburg, was hit by drought and numerous forest fires this early summer. She said: “When I go home, these are the main issues in my home country.” At the supermarket checkout at her home, the summer heat is “the topic of conversation”.