Biodiversity is usually defined as the degree of variation of life forms at all levels of biological systems: the diversity of habitats, individual species, genetic diversity within species and molecular diversity.

Ecosystems provide us with services which are the basis of our existence, they present our food, water and fuel source, they regulate the water cycle and purify the air, water and soil.

Biodiversity has its intrinsic value but there are also assessments of its economic value. The economic value of the services which biodiversity provides for the humanity was assessed in 2005. to 33000 billion dollars while the price of salvaging the most endangered part of the Earths' flora and fauna would cost on a one-time-basis 33 billion dollars.

The year 2010 was the International Year of Biodiversity but the goal set in 2001.: preservation of biodiversity as a foundation of European environment protection policy was not reached. A new attempt to reach the goal is launched this year: the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the period from 2011 to 2020 as the United Nations Decade of Biodiversity. EuroEnviro symposium wishes to kick start this goal and provide the much needed education about biodiversity but also an open and participatory space for discussions and formulation of measures the youth of Europe wants to see at work.

Cities are ecosystems too.

They are dynamic and open systems which change but also depend on ecosystems around them. Cities occupy 3% of the Earth’s land surface, they are home to half of the human population, use 75% of the resources, and account for approximately 2/3 of all used energy and greenhouse gas emissions.

Urban areas are a threat to biodiversity but can also be an opportunity for its preservation. Satisfaction of human needs can and must be achieved in the balance with nature and its resources.

How will EuroEnviro 2011 cover these two important topics?

First three days of symposium (20.-23. May) will be held in Zagreb, where participants will be introduced to concept of urbanism and influence of the city growth on the biodiversity. Through lectures and workshops some of the questions will be discussed, such as: What is the economic value of biodiversity and how can it be measured?; Are there any possible alternatives to the present industrial, economic and social development? What is the impact of urbanization on the environment and the quality of life in cities? etc.

Next two days (23.-25. May) of EuroEnviro will present direct contrast to the urban area of the capital city and take the participants in the natural surroundings of the Fužine. Students will there have an opportunity to meet with the biodiversity directly in the field, surrounded by the forests of Gorski Kotar. Considering the fact that 2011. has been proclaimed The International Year of Forests, special importance will be given to the topic of Forest Biodiversity.

Last three days (25.-28. May) participants will spend on the seaside in the industrially oriented city of Rijeka. Rijeka presents great platform for further education about urbanism, industrialization and the effects of the human economic activities on natural systems. The contrast of the highly developed city area and natural beauties found nearby will also round off the topic of EuroEnviro symposium and send final message to the international participants to continue thinking and acting to conserve biodiversity in their home countries.

«We can no longer see the continued loss of biodiversity as an issue separate from the core concerns of society: to tackle poverty, to improve the health, prosperity and security of present and future generations, and to deal with climate change. Each of those objectives is undermined by current trends in the state of our ecosystems, and each will be greatly strengthened if we finally give biodiversity the priority it deserves».

- European Environment Agency -