Freie Universität Berlin Commits to Making 2024 a ’Year of Biodiversity’

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The university has joined the Nature Positive Universities international network

President of Freie Universität Berlin Günter M. Ziegler has declared 2024 the "Year of Biodiversity." During the upcoming months, Freie Universität Berlin will be placing an even stronger focus on biodiversity in teaching and research as part of its aim to raise awareness of the subject and support biodiversity preservation measures. Freie Universität Berlin also recently joined the Nature Positive Universities alliance, an international network of higher education institutions committed to halting and reversing nature loss.

"The color green is inherently associated with Freie Universität Berlin and our campus. Our green campus is one of the main characteristics of our university; it defines both our internal and external image. In recent years, initiatives such as the " " ("Campus in Bloom") project, SUSTAIN IT! , or Grüne Bibliotheken ("Green Libraries") have contributed toward changing how Freie Universität Berlin is seen by the public, as well as toward promoting biodiversity and sustainability on campus. However, our commitment to protecting the environment is much older. We first drafted our environmentally friendly energy management and sustainability concept more than twenty years ago. Our current goal is to focus more on biological diversity in order to strengthen the connection between our natural environment and the university," said Ziegler.

Various biodiversity-themed courses and public events will be held at Freie Universität as part of the "Year of Biodiversity." Research activities already taking place in the field of biodiversity research will also receive greater recognition, and initiatives such as the "Blühender Campus" project will receive even more support.

Freie Universität Berlin is one of the first German universities to join the Nature Positive Universities network. Founded in December 2022 at the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in Montreal, Canada, on the initiative of the University of Oxford and the UN Environment Program, the Nature Positive Universities alliance now boasts almost 600 member institutions around the world. Members of the network have made a commitment to becoming nature positive. For a university, this means restoring species and ecosystems that have been harmed by the impacts of a university and its activities as well as enhancing the university’s positive impacts on nature. This refers to everything a university does, from its teaching and research work to the operations and supply chains that keep it running. By joining the network, Freie Universität Berlin has also committed itself to providing annual status reports on biodiversity on campus.

The Latin words veritas, justitia, and libertas, which frame the seal of Freie Universität Berlin, stand for the values that have defined the academic ethos of Freie Universität since its founding in December 1948.