cc. Since 18 October, signatures for a popular petition are being collected in Baden-Wuerttemberg. Initiators of the petition are the Badische Landwirtschaftliche Hauptverband e.V. (Baden Agricultural Main Association), the Landesbauernverband in Baden-Wuerttemberg e.V. (State Farmers‘ Association), the Badische Weinbauverband e.V. (Baden Winegrowers’ Association) and the Landesverband Erwerbsobstbau Baden-Wuerttemberg e.V. (State Commercial Fruitgrowers‘ Association). The initiators understand their collecting of signatures as a constructive-critical alternative to the “Volksbegehren Artenschutz – ‘Rettet die Bienen’” (Referendum wildlife conservation – ’save the bees’). On the people’s petition’s website you can read: “The people’s petition formulates concrete suggestions, how species protection and agriculture can be interlinked – for the environment and against dividing desires.”
Every citizen of Baden-Wuerttemberg has the right to submit a petition to the state parliament (Landtag). This is regulated in the state constitution. This petition must be signed by 0.5 per cent of the eligible voters in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, that’s about 40,000 persons. A people‘s petition is not a non-binding collection of signatures, but a legally regulated instrument for more citizen participation. After the successful submission of the people’s petition, a committee of the state parliament must deal with the issue. It is possible to change the details of the request. On the people’s petition‘s website you can read: “In this way a broad social consensus can be built, aiming at finding viable alternatives for the wildlife conservation”.
The people’s petition, for which signatures are now being collected, is worded as follows (the reasons can be found on the website www.volksantraggemeinsam.de/volksantrag):
“The state parliament resolves to adopt:
- The state parliament is committed to the comprehensive preservation of domestic agriculture. The state government is called upon to further develop existing advancement programmes in such a way that agricultural enterprises of all types of farming can better further improve their performance towards biodiversity. To this end, particularly cooperative nature and species conservation must be further extended and incentives must be created that are suitable for promoting wildlife conservation and for offering family farms a sustainable perspective.
- The state government is called upon to address the causes of decreasing species diversity. In addition to agriculture, all other polluters must also make their contributions to wildlife conservation. To this end, the state government must develop and offer appropriate measures and incentives for the economy and civil society.
- Instead of an extended ban on the use of pesticides, the state Baden Wuertemberg is called upon to promote a technically sound and effective pesticide reduction strategy and thus in future to enable the production of regional food products and the preservation of the cultural landscape in landscape protection and Natura 2000 areas as well.
- The state government is called upon to investigate the causes of species extinction and suitable countermeasures comprehensively in the state’s research institutions and have the results centrally evaluated. In addition, research and funding programmes for alternative and integrated plant protection must be set up in order to enable the use of modern technologies even in smaller agricultural structures.
- The state government is called upon to refrain from the introduction of formal biotope protection for orchard meadows and instead to improve the promotion of care and conservation in accordance with the motto ‘Protecting by benefitting’.
- The state government is called upon to take measures to gradually reduce the average daily land consumption in the country to the targets set out in the sustainability strategy.
- The state government is called upon to take measures to further promote and expand the organic sector in the country in a demand-oriented manner.
- The state government is requested to take measures to communicate to the education institutions on the importance of regional nutrition and biodiversity.
- The state government is called upon to set up a “Kulturlandschaftsrat” (Council for cultural landscape) for the preservation of agriculture and biodiversity, to bundle and advance the various interests of environmental protection, land use, economy and trade as well as the findings of research.
- The state government is called upon to work towards ensuring that the trade also fulfils its special responsibility in terms of wildlife conservation and sustainable domestic agriculture.”
For more information see: www.volksantrag-gemeinsam.de