Europe and Central Asia

Germany - Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU)

BirdLife Partner

Founded in 1899
Members: 445000
Staff: 120
Charitéstr. 3, Berlin, DE, D-10117
Tel. +49 30 28 49 84-0; Fax +49 30 28 49 84-20 00


Mission of the organisation

NABU works for the protection of biological diversity, especially in Germany, also in other parts of the world. Where possible our aim is also to ensure that future generations can live on a planet with a wider diversity of species and habitats as well as clean air and water, healthy soil and as many non-renewable resources as possible. NABU tries to inspire people to engage themselves in the protection of nature and thereby contribute to the benefit of society.

Key Activities

Lobbying and advocacy at a national level

  • Focussing on the Federal Laws on nature conservation (Bundesnaturschutzgesetz), species protection, agriculture, forestry (Bundeswaldgesetz), hunting (Bundesjagdgesetz) and fishing as well as transport and planning
  • Since 1990, when conservationists from the German Society for Bird Protection and the former German Democratic Republic united to form NABU, the protection of ecologically important sites in national parks and biosphere reserves in the new Länder have been high on the agenda
  • Additional themes, especially in 1998 after the election of the new red/green coalition, were lobbying for an ecological tax reform and the implementation of these demands in the coalition agreement of the new federal government. NABU also lobbied for a improvement of the so called Agenda 2000 in Bonn and Berlin, and (together with other BirdLife partners and ECO) in Brussels and Strasbourg. NABU prepared BirdLife's memorandum for the German presidency in the European Union in the first half of 1999, and cooperated in the main position papers of BirdLife and EEB for the elections of the European Parliament in June 1999 and 2004
  • In 2002, the new government proposed to novellate the Federal Forestry Law (Bundeswaldgesetz) and the Federal Law on Hunting (Bundesjagdgesetz) in this legislation period (2002-2006). Therefore, in 2003 and 2004 the improvement of these two laws was high on NABU's political agenda

Work on IBAs and Natura 2000-sites

  • Since the mid 1980s, NABU has participated in BirdLife's IBA project. In 1991, after Germanys reunification, NABU elaborated a new IBA-inventory
  • Since 1992, the realisation of the Natura 2000 network with sites under the EU Birds and Habitats Directives, has been one of the major aims in biodiversity conservation for NABU
  • Lobbying for a better implementation of the EU Birds and Habitats Directives, updating the IBA-inventory and elaborating a shadow list for SAC's under the Habitats Directive have also been important projects

IBAs and SPAs

  • For the BirdLife European IBA inventory (2000), in total 236 sites were listed which meant a gain of about 30 percent in comparison to the IBA list from 1989 and 1991 (in total 169 sites)
  • In 2002, major additions were made resulting in 542 sites equaling 56,509 square kilometers or 15.8 % of the land surface of Germany
  • So far about 60% of these IBAs are officially notified as SPAs under the EC Birds Directive (457 SPAs with 28,857 square kilometres)

International activities

  • The banning of bird hunting and trapping is still a target of NABU. For example, NABU's youth organisation NAJU together with LIPU, the Italian BirdLife Partner and other NGOs, organises yearly camps at the straight of Messina and in Calabria to stop illegal hunting of raptors and storks. In Malta, NABU supports the Maltese BirdLife-partner MOS in its struggle against hunting. During the last three years, the target of a full implementation of the EU Birds Directive has been the main objective
  • Besides activities on a European level, after the fall of the Iron Curtain, nature conservation in the countries of eastern and south-eastern Europe (as well as in the states of the former Soviet Union) has become one of the major aims of NABU. Concrete projects in the first years were the support of the Baltic Birds Conferences in 1991 and 1993, as well as financial and technical help for several Partner Organisations. With the financial support of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, in 1993 NABU carried out a consultation programme for eastern European colleagues. In 1994 and 1995, NABU's White Stork specialists in the NABU institute for meadows and wetlands in Bergenhusen (Schleswig-Holstein) organised and coordinated the 5th International White Stork Census, and a additional public awareness campaign for this species, the Bird of the Year 1994
  • In 2004 and 2005, NABU's institute has also organised the 6th International White Stork Census, which aims to work together with all BirdLife Partner organisations in monitoring the breeding, resting and wintering areas of the White Stork
  • In many other parts of Eastern Europe, NABU's specialist and regional groups, together with colleagues from the local BirdLife Partners, are engaged in monitoring and conservation work. For example in the Romanian part of the Danube delta, NABU's Berlin branch is active together with SOR, and in the Biebrza marshes and Narew lowlands in northeastern Poland, NABU Northrhine-Westphalia and Euronatur have supported PTOP and OTOP for a couple of years. In Biebrza, 130 hectares and 140 hectares in the Narew area have been bought by PTOP, partly financed by eco-tourism organised by PTOP and NABU Northrhine-Westphalia
  • In 1995, with financial support of the Federal Ministry (BMU) and the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), NABU launched a project for identifying new Biosphere Reserves in Central Asia, e.g. Kyrghystan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, which aims to develop those areas as Model Regions for Integrated Conservation and Sustainable Development (ICD)
  • In cooperation with Greenpeace Russia and local partner-organisations, NABU tried to identify World Heritage sites in Russia. Already in 1995, the Komi Virgin Forest in the northern Ural-mountains (30,000 square kilometers) was accepted by UNESCO. In 1996 the Kamchatka-region (40,000 square kilometers) was accepted. In 1997 the nomination of Vodlozero National Park was finished (Europe's largest protected moorland area with nearly 6,000 square kilometers), and the nominations of some other areas prepared
  • In September 1998 the first of these biosphere reserves was officially opened in Kyrgyzstan. It is roughly the size of Switzerland and covers about one fifth of the country's area in its mountainous east. Much work has also been done already in the region of the Tengis Lakes in Kazakhstan - an important resting place for waterfowl in Central Asia
  • Also in 1998, after some years of preparations a project for the protection of the snow leopard in the Kyrgyz mountains was launched, from which after intensive illegal hunting only around 700 individuals survive
  • Recently NABU has also increasingly engaged in nature protection in Africa. After long-lasting contacts to Kenya (the Arabuke-Sokoke-project, for which NABU recently issued a German tourist guide) and Mauritania (which joined the Bonn Convention due to a NABU initiative), NABU is now (in consultation with the BirdLife Secretariat) helping to reestablish national parks in Liberia. A voluntary co-worker of NABU's Africa-project group in 1997 published a book about the Liberian avifauna. The Arabuke-Sokoke-project has broadened its scope, and is now a joint project of NABU and the German health aid foundation “Kindernothilfe”