Do NGOs recognise the climate-biodiversity nexus? Insights from 107 climate NGOs in Germany

Lucie Maj Oelschläger*, Rakhyun E. Kim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Biodiversity loss and climate change are deeply intertwined and constitute a complex and interdependent crisis. These interlinked sustainability issues need to be addressed through an integrated approach. However, governments have been slow to integrate the need to protect both climate and biodiversity into environmental governance. NGOs, as non-profit organisations promoting public good, are seen as having the potential to recognise and advocate for this much-needed holistic protection of climate and biodiversity. But to what extent and in what ways do NGOs recognise this climate-biodiversity nexus? This article addresses these questions through an analysis of 107 German climate NGOs, examining their 190 annual reports from two time periods, 2016/2017 and 2021/2022. We found that, while German climate NGOs have made significant progress in recognising the climate-biodiversity nexus, they lack recognition of the role of biodiversity in stabilising the climate and the unintended negative consequences of climate policies and measures for biodiversity, highlighting that NGOs are still far from being holistic environmental stewards. Climate NGOs need to integrate the interplay between climate and biodiversity objectives into their organisational activities and align their mandates to promote synergies and minimise trade-offs between climate and biodiversity actions. We suggest that one way forward is to increase collaboration between NGOs. NGOs could then complement each other’s expertise and be better placed to jointly contribute to finding integrated solutions for climate and biodiversity protection and mainstreaming biodiversity into climate policy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114
Number of pages21
JournalDiscover Sustainability
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2024

Keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Climate change
  • Integrative environmental governance
  • Issue linkage
  • NGO
  • Problem shifting
  • Synergies
  • Trade-offs

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