Gabriel said, "No major decisions can be expected". The Potsdam meeting is designed primarily to prepare the ground for decisions that will be taken at the G8 summit in Heiligendamm and at the Climate Change Conference to be held in December in Bali.
In Heiligendamm, Chancellor Angela Merkel aims to get the G8 to adopt an ambitious climate-protection agreement. This is seen as a precondition for further international negotiations on a post-2012 climate regime.
The aim of the meeting in Potsdam is to uncover success stories, shortcomings and interests. "For future negotiations it is important to establish mutual trust," declared Gabriel in the run-up to the meeting.
The Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Achim Steiner, emphasised that 2007 would be a watershed year for climate protection. "If we do not manage to jump start negotiations, the entire international framework for future climate agreements will be jeopardised."
In the field of climate protection, the industrialised nations must be a good example. In order to involve developing countries in climate protection, they must make modern technologies available to these countries. We must allay the fears of developing countries that climate protection would be nothing but a burden for them.
Linking environmental protection and economic growth
Brazil, Mexico, China, India and South Africa are enjoying robust economic growth. They are already doing much for climate protection. Brazil, for instance, has reduced forest clearance by fifty percent. These countries too recognise the dangers posed by climate change.
The G8 states must provide examples of how economic growth can go hand in hand with genuine environmental protection, explained Gabriel.
The levels of cuts in carbon dioxide emissions proposed by the EU can only be achieved with the help of an international partnership, and by balancing interests at international level, he continued.
This also applies to preserving biodiversity. At the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002, participants agreed on the ambitious goal of significantly reducing the loss of biodiversity by 2010. Today, three years away from the deadline, the international community is still a long way from achieving this goal.
In May 2008 Germany will host the next world summit on biodiversity. A priority goal is to generate significantly greater public awareness worldwide about the consequences of species loss.
The G8 states are Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, Canada, the USA and Russia. For the first time in Potsdam, the world's major emerging economies, Brazil, Mexico, China, India and South Africa will also be represented at the negotiating table.