Wageningen University: WUR launches Wageningen Biodiversity Initiative

Wageningen University & Research launched the Wageningen Biodiversity Initiative (WBI) on Monday 14 June. This initiative will see researchers from all disciplines work together to better understand the global decline in biodiversity and to bend the curve of biodiversity loss back in a positive direction. Thanks to this unique pooling of knowledge, WUR steps forward as a leader in scientific research into preventing the loss of biodiversity.

WUR has taken this initiative to further promote the transition to nature inclusivity, and invites other stakeholders to join in. We can only achieve the transition that is needed in society if we all work together.

The launch of the Wageningen Biodiversity Initiative, which took place online for the most part as a result of the coronavirus measures, gathered significant interest from researchers. The urgency is felt widely. Under the WBI umbrella, parties will collaborate more and more closely to develop possible solutions from different perspectives for the loss of biodiversity and support their implementation in our society.

Essence of Nature
Louise O. Fresco, President of the Executive Board of WUR, emphasised the importance of the WBI at the launch. “Today is a very special day for WUR. There are many urgent matters that demand our attention, but biodiversity is unique. We as humans are also part of biodiversity. It is the essence of nature; we cannot survive without biodiversity. With the WBI, we can create a foundation that government agencies and businesses can use as the basis for their nature policy.” Professor Liesje Mommer, founder of the WBI, invited all stakeholders from the government, agricultural sector, NGOs, and the business community to make a difference together: “We have about 10 to 15 years to reverse the trend, and we will not achieve this at our current pace. We need collaboration more than ever.”

The need for the WBI has never been this great. The loss of biodiversity is getting more severe, with dire consequences for humans, animals, and the environment. This problem cannot be isolated from problems related to the climate and food and can therefore only be solved by an integrated approach based on a scientific foundation. This is why WUR is in a unique position. Wageningen ecologists, agronomists, plant and animal scientists, technologists, economists, behavioural experts, and other experts in research biodiversity issues from the viewpoint of numerous disciplines.

Ambitious Task
Within the Wageningen Biodiversity Initiative, all these researchers, students, and PhD candidates will look for answers to the challenges and dilemmas faced by society. This will be explicitly done in close collaboration with society: the WBI will create links between the different disciplines on the Wageningen campus and far beyond. These broad dialogues will lead to a transdisciplinary research agenda with the ambitious task of bending the curve of biodiversity loss back in a positive direction. This will focus on the following areas: Biodiversity in food systems, human-wildlife interactions, and multiple values of nature.

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