Toespraak Trilaterale Waddenconferentie Wilhelmshaven


Betrokkenen uit  Duitsland, Denemarken en Nederland kwamen bijeen in Wilhelmshaven voor de 14e trilaterale Waddenzeeconferentie. Deze vond plaats van 28 november tot 1 december 2022.  De 3 grenslanden van de Waddenzee maken hier afspraken over de gezamenlijke bescherming van de Waddenzee. Minister Van der Wal - Zeggelink (Natuur en Stikstof)was hier om met de internationale en nationale betrokkenen bij het beheer en bescherming van dit gebied in gesprek te gaan. De tekst van de toespraak is alleen in het Engels beschikbaar.

Verantwoordelijke Ministerie van Landbouw, Natuur en Voedselkwaliteit
  • Klimaatverandering
  • Natuur- en landschapsbeheer
Documentsoort Toespraak
Geldig van 30-11-2022
Document creatiedatum 30-11-2022
Onderwerp Natuur en biodiversiteit

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It is such a pleasure to meet you right in the middle of the Wadden Sea, in Wilhelmshaven – a marine spot with great technological power. And a town called very familiarly: ‘Williams’ and ‘Vilhelms’ speak to the 3 of our nations.

I feel encouraged by our joint attachment to the value of the Wadden, which is also expressed through its position at the UNESCO’s World Natural Heritage List. And by entrepreneurs who are to become new partners to this world heritage brand, willing to operate responsibly in this respect too.

This inspires me even more to work with you on what UNESCO now asks us to do. The ecosystem is in the emergency room. We will have to better manage it. It is about time to roll up some sleeves now and implement a Single Integrated Management Plan.

This year - my first as a minister - I have had various occasions to discuss many of the related issues at all levels. It became clear to me how the needs of our ecosystems versus our local worries resonate with yours. The vitality of the shipping industry is involved. So is the commercial traffic. The fishermen’s work. Company’s activities. The tourist’s getaways on the isles and ashore. The inhabitant’s wellbeing.

We must not only worry on how to combine their interests and the complexity of what is at stake here. We can exchange ideas on how to reverse harmful trends. Many of them also figure in our national agenda that envisages a healthy Wadden Sea by 2050.  

Very similar ideas were conveyed at the World Climate Conference in Sharm-el-Sheikh. I feel encouraged by every small step on the international level. A strong deal will hopefully be made to protect and restore nature at the upcoming Global Biodiversity Summit in Montreal. Many countries want to take better care of forests. Others are expected to agree on the urge to rebalance our systems of energy.

[One cannot get results just by expressing transboundary ambitions. We will have to face local differences first, and deal with them too.

Today, the Netherlands wants to reduce nitrogen loads. For well-known reasons. Nature’s reasons. Nature’s restoration and better soil and water conditions will be molds for any new projects in our areas, be they for housing, transportation, industries and food production, or for efforts to manage coastal zones.

We are united with many to note that  time is ticking away. But we can make that passing of time our ally with a joint declaration that will determine our work in the years to come. A declaration that should include good doses of optimism and practical actions, that builds on the fundaments of our long lasting cooperation, and can answer at least these few questions:

How do we better protect the bird and fish species as well as sublateral nature who are dependent on the Wadden Sea for survival?

The Wadden Sea is vulnerable and we expect more electricity cables. How can we better protect the ecology through a smart use of space?

Isn’t it time to evaluate the Wadden Sea’s Particularly Sensitive Sea Area’s status and better secure the Wadden Sea against accidents caused by huge open-top container vessels?

How do we better protect the Outstanding Universal Value against the effects of climate change?

Clear views are a prerequisite to progress and scientists can help us with that. Hopefully, we will agree on a joint research program that fosters accurate insights, specific data and sound knowledge on how climate change affects nature. It is in our common interest that this knowledge can be gained in this area and that innovative results are shared right there. I can think of the new reefs of trees that researchers have placed between Texel en Vlieland recently- a promising technique to restore nature. The Netherlands will continue to support these activities and I know Wilhelmshaven is home to many other research projects too.

Having addressed some questions, having mentioned the intended Single Integrated Management Plan, the Agenda for the Wadden in 2050, and the trilateral Wadden research program, adding to that the renewed seal management plan and the continuation of our cooperation to protect marine life as a whole, let me end just by stating this: the Wadden Sea is still an area of awe, unique and incomparable. I hold it close to my heart and I am delighted it has so many international friends. Proof of that lies in the initiative to protect the absolute darkness at night.

… while at daytime lights continue their performance. Tides produce ever altering faces. Weather conditions can change rapidly. And the isles change their positions slowly. We are in a continuous and highly demanding game of movement. 

So let’s find some versatile insights today.

I was told that the dynamic Kaiser-Wilhelm-Brücke here (in Wilhelmshaven) was Europe’s biggest for a long time. I personally adore bridges that swing. I take this as a reminder of our recurrent questions to overcome. Let’s bridge our gaps and cherish the flow of life. Nature’s life. Danish, German, Dutch lives.