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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg 2022

16 Europeanizing Biodiversity: International Organizations as Environmental Actors

From the book Greening Europe

  • Liesbeth van de Grift and Wim van Meurs


The twentieth century has witnessed a rise to prominence of the concept of biodiversity and underlying concerns with nature conservation, extinction of species, environmentalism, and the structural decline of biodiversity. With national governments and civil-society organizations taking the lead, biodiversity has eventually become part of the policy agenda of several international organizations. The present contribution focuses on four predominantly European organizations and their understanding and prioritisation of biodiversity issues: the League of Nations, Comecon, the Council of Europe, and the European Community/Union. The chapter demonstrates a transition from the protection of individual rare species threatened by extinction to the more structural approach of the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats and Natura 2000. It shows that in addition to concerns about environmental degradation, international organizations’ embracing of a biodiversity agenda was always informed by considerations of power and strategic interests as well.

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
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