Kommbio – Municipalities for Biodiversity in Germany
The association Kommbio – Kommunen für biologische Vielfalt (english: Municipalities for Biodiversity) is an alliance of currently 376 cities, communes and districts. Together they are committed to species-rich natural areas in settlements and the open countryside.
Fields of action include the near-natural management of municipal green spaces, species and biotope protection, urban planning, renaturation and forest management. Furthermore, it is about promoting sustainable land management, nature experience and nature awareness. Topics such as climate adaptation, health care, quality of life in urban areas and citizen participation are becoming increasingly important.
The association serves the municipalities for the exchange of information and supports them in their public relations work. Further training offers for administrative staff as well as joint campaigns and projects are also on the agenda. Kommbio regularly informs about current developments in municipal nature conservation via its newsletter. On the homepage you can find numerous practical examples – from flower meadows in the park, to species protection measures for insects, birds and amphibians, up to green classrooms.
The alliance was founded in Frankfurt am Main in 2012 and has grown steadily. The basis of the association’s activities is the declaration “Biodiversity in Municipalities“ (Biodiversität in Kommunen), in which all members commit to working for biodiversity. The General Assembly is the supreme body of the association. It elects the board of directors from among its members, which in turn appoints the management.
At the head office members will find competent contact persons. They advise municipalities on technical issues relating to near-natural green space management or current funding opportunities and arrange contacts with municipalities with relevant practical experience.
10 years of the alliance
2010/2011: The prehistory
The starting point of the alliance was the dialogue forum „Biodiversity in Municipalities“ in 2010, which was conducted by Environmental Action Germany (Deutsche Umwelthilfe) on behalf of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz). Robert Spreter as project leader of Environmental Action Germany and Torsten Wilke as head of department at the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation were responsible for this initiative. Both agreed that the dialogue forum should try to establish permanent cooperation among municipalities.
At the dialogue forum, the declaration „Biodiversity in Municipalities“ was adopted and published. Herein, the municipalities pledged their commitment to biodiversity and the establishment of a municipal alliance. Within a year, the declaration was signed by 200 cities, communes and districts from all over Germany. Professor Beate Jessel, then President of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, was delighted: „The acceptance of the Declaration by so many municipalities is enormous and far exceeds the expectations with which we initiated the implementation of the National Biodiversity Strategy at a local level in February 2010, together with around 30 municipalities and Environmental Action Germany.“
Due to the great success of the declaration, Environmental Action Germany applied to the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation for a funding project to establish a municipal alliance for the conservation of biodiversity. In two participatory workshops, the foundations for the association were laid together with representatives of the municipalities and in consultation with the municipal umbrella organisations, and the statutes were drawn up. An independent association supported by municipalities should be founded. The objectives and tasks of the association were defined as the exchange of information, political lobbying, public relations work and the implementation of joint projects. The declaration was intended to form the basis for the future work of the association and was to be signed by every member. It was planned to organise a large congress at which municipalities could become founding members. The following people were involved in the groundbreaking workshops in 2010 and 2011: Robert Spreter, Tobias Herbst, Ulrich Stöcker (all Environmental Action Germany), Alice Kube (Federal Agency for Nature Conservation), Irene Köchling (Federal Ministry for the Environment – Bundesumweltministerium ), Arnt Becker (City of Bielefeld), Rüdiger Becker (City of Heidelberg), Dr. Antje Brink (City of Hanover), Rita Budde (City of Bonn), Wolfgang Budig (City of Augsburg), Harald Fritsche (City of Augsburg), Jochen Hildenbrand (City of Nürtingen), Klaus Hoppe (City of Frankfurt am Main), Jürgen Leicher (Municipality of Ratekau), Christa Mehl-Rouschal (City of Frankfurt am Main), Hubert Müller, (City of Apolda), Michael Packschies (City of Eckernförde), Ulrich Schmersow (City of Hanover) and Torsten Wilke (City of Leipzig).