EU member states endorse comprehensive new plan to address biodiversity crisis

23 October 2020

Brussels, October 23 - Today the environment ministers of EU governments have backed the Biodiversity Strategy 2030, which lays out the EU’s new 10-year-plan to tackle nature loss. [1]

The meeting comes days after a report on the State of Nature in the EU revealed that, despite the EU’s Nature directives, 81% of habitats and 63% of the species that the directives were designed to protect still have an ‘unfavourable’ conservation status. [2]

Friedrich Wulf, international biodiversity campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe, said:

“The strategy is a crucial step to address the biodiversity crisis. We welcome the commitment of ministers to reach the targets to restore degraded ecosystems, reduce unsustainable farming methods like pesticide and fertiliser use, and to improve the status of endangered species and habitats. It’s also positive to see the environmental ministers support the long-awaited step of addressing the impact of its international trade on the environment worldwide.”

At the UN Biodiversity Summit last month, the EU pledged to step up global ambition for biodiversity and put climate and the environment at the heart of a just and green Covid-19 recovery. The new strategy aims to introduce legally binding targets to safeguard nature and address the root causes of biodiversity loss. [3]

Friedrich Wulf continued:

“To truly meet EU biodiversity commitments, the EU and its member states must now really start putting this strategy in place. This includes the adoption of legally binding targets, and coherent and effective implementation across all sectors. The State of Nature report highlights the devastating price of weak and incoherent action to protect our planet. Now the EU must seize the moment to put nature and biodiversity at the heart of the green recovery, both within the EU and within its value chains worldwide.

"However, today the European Parliament threatens to repeat the mistakes of the past if it votes for the devastatingly weak position for the Common Agricultural Policy. A CAP that supports the transition to sustainable agriculture is essential to reach the biodiversity targets related to agriculture. We hope that the Parliament has rejected the current CAP text on the table: any other outcome will be a surrender for the EU’s biodiversity commitments which have only just been adopted.[4]

 

Notes

[1] The Environment Council conclusions can be viewed here.

[2] State of Nature report is available here.

[3] The EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 is available to view here.

[4] The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) position of the European Parliament to be voted on later today doesn’t offer any substantial and necessary changes to the current system. The proposal includes: giving 60% of subsidies as untargeted direct payments with weak environmental  conditions; weakening the basic environmental conditions for farmers who receive direct payments; for a big part of rural development funding to have no link to environmental objectives; no link between the CAP and the objectives of the EU’s European Green Deal.