My name is Claus Mayr, and since 1992 I have been working for NABU (BirdLife in Germany). I started my work in NABU as IBA officer, but already with a broader focus on European and international biodiversity policies and Conventions, namely the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), also known as the “Bonn Convention”.
Since 2007 I am working as NABU´s Director of European Affairs, based at the BirdLife European Division in Brussels. My main responsibilities are networking between NABU, the Division and other European BirdLife Partners, keeping my colleagues in Germany informed of what happens on the Brussels scene and improving NABU’s relations with the European Commission, German MEP´s, and with the permanent representations of the Federal German Government and the representations of the sixteen German Federal States in Brussels.
Having grown up in the “three countries triangle” on the border between Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, I have been fascinated by migratory birds and interested in their protection since the very beginning, when as a schoolboy I became member of the German Society for Bird Conservation (DBV, the predecessor of NABU). So I followed the implementation of the EU Birds Directive from the start, when I was confronted with the capture of songbirds in the Belgian Ardenne mountains. Consequently, I studied biology and ecology at the Aachen University and engaged voluntarily in the work of DBV/NABU both at the local and regional level.
In 1992, only a few weeks after having started my professional career at NABU Headquarters, I had the opportunity to co-organise the conference which paved the way to the creation of BirdLife International, which was born in 1994.
Looking back at these many years spent conserving nature and biodiversity and at the many events which marked them, I feel proud and a little bit sad at the same time. With the implementation of the EU Birds and Habitats Directives and the Natura 2000-network, today covering more than 26.000 sites and 17 percent of the land surface of the EU, we have surely achieved a lot. On the other hand though, up to 80 percent of the habitats and species are still not in a favourable conservation status, we are missing adequate management plans and financing for the network, and failing the 2010-target clearly shows that we are still far away from the integration of biodiversity conservation in other policies, namely the European agricultural and fisheries policies. Therefore in the coming years I will focus on achieving the new, ambitious 2020-target, working together with all of you engaged colleagues in this fascinating network of BirdLife!
This blog post is from BirdLife’s European Newsletter. To register for the letter, please click here.