Carabinieri Officers School - Rome, 13-15/11/2018
LIFE SMART4Action - Carabinieri Officers School - Rome 15/11/2018
Even this year, in the premises of the Officers’ School, Carabinieri have organized the International Conference on the Environment (third edition) to foster reflection on issues of global relevance.
On the wave of the previous events, which focused on "Man and the Environment: global challenges, protection and perspectives" and on "challenges and solutions to protect the environment", the 3rd conference aims to stimulate interest on the theme "Biodiversity: Engine of Life on Earth".
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), open for accession at the 1992 UN World Conference in Rio de Janeiro on "Environment and Development" and signed so far by 193 countries, defines biodiversity as the variety and variability of living organisms and the ecological systems where they live. This definition includes diversity at different levels: genetic, specific and ecosystem.
The different levels of organization of living beings and the ties between them, point out the intrinsic complexity of the concept of biodiversity.
From a general perspective, it can be said that the higher the degree of species’ genetic diversity is, the greater is its ability to adapt to environmental changes, both anthropogenic and natural.
This adaptation occurs also for ecosystems characterized by a great complexity and diversity of species, very able to resist and overcome external disturbances.
The maintenance of adequate levels of biodiversity is linked to the proper management of habitats and ecosystems at national and European level, also through joint actions for the conservation of animal and plant species.
PANEL 1: The value of biodiversity
From the ecological point of view, it is now fully accepted the principle that biodiversity is fundamental for maintaining the necessary environmental balance to guarantee prospects of life and prosperity for current and future generations.
The importance of biodiversity, in all its meanings, is not always fully understood: sometimes the interest in little-known animal and plant species is perceived as a concern by scholars pursuing purely theoretical ends, devoid of practical consequences. On the other hand, it has been demonstrated that the general conservation of species and living beings has a profound ethical meaning, since every living species possesses an intrinsic value in this respect. Furthermore, economic nature of its contents, often disregarded, is very relevant. It has been calculated by UNEP (UN Environment Program) that, due to environmental balances determined by high levels of biodiversity and by the consequent ecosystem services (gas regulation, climate mitigation, water and air purification, pollination, maintenance of soil fertility, erosion reduction, ...), the human being gets benefits for a total value that exceeds the sum of the gross domestic product of all the world states.
In the first panel, therefore, international scholars will be invited to decline and deepen the value of biodiversity in all its meanings, ecological, economic, ethical, without neglecting the related social and cultural aspects.
PANEL 2: The conservation of biodiversity
There are two methods of conservation of biodiversity identified by the Convention: “in situ” and “ex situ”. The most effective tool is the “in situ” conservation, through the establishment and management of a well-connected and ecologically representative protected area system. Ultimate international references on the subject are: the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, a management body which, through the Conference of States Parties (which meets every two years) takes decisions, identifies thematic programs and defines cross-cutting issues and protocols to tailor the biodiversity conservation objectives; the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), whose mission is to encourage all States to preserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to promote a sustainable and equitable use of natural resources; the UNESCO which, through the "Man and Biosphere" Program (MAB), recognizes human heritage environments where the conservation of nature and the development of anthropic activities of historical and cultural interest have developed harmoniously.
The EU also plays an important role in this, developing its own strategy (Commission Communication of 3 May 2011 "Our life insurance, our natural capital: a European biodiversity strategy towards 2020"), promoting of the “Natura 2000 Network” (CEE 92/43 and 79/409 Directives), and financing nature conservation and biodiversity projects (LIFE Regulations), which aims to improve the protection of species and habitats at risk of extinction. The activities of the Carabinieri in this field are very relevant. They are carried out through the direct management of the 130 State Natural Reserves, where some of the most delicate and best-preserved ecosystems belonging to the national naturalistic heritage are protected, and through the surveillance of national and international territories.
The second panel will then host representatives of world organizations dealing with biodiversity and nature conservation, of community bodies and of countries that have implemented significant experiences in the field of protected areas.
PANEL 3: Police activity to protect biodiversity
The most relevant reason of loss of biodiversity is the destruction or alteration of habitats, as well as the illegal collection of animal and plant species in the wild. Therefore, the control and contrast activities, aimed at tackling environmental crimes, contribute to the protection of biodiversity. In the environmental field, prevention is undoubtedly crucial to avoid the loss of biodiversity.
The inevitable repression follows the criminal action that has damaged the environment with its components, very often irreparably compromised, with the related risks to public health. Equally crucial for the protection of the environment is a widespread and focused education. In this context, the “Arma dei Carabinieri” has always been careful to the needs of the territories and close to the rural and mountain populations. Consequently, the Corps plays an important role in rising an environmental consciousness, and, at the same time, acts promptly and firmly to counteract organized and common crimes, even when internationally rooted (waste traffic, illegal logging or species protected by CITES).
The third panel will then address the issue of international cooperation between governmental agencies, police forces and other bodies committed to combating environmental crimes within the frameworks of INTERPOL and EUROPOL. It will also host significant experiences of law enforcement officials specialized in the fight against such crimes.