The EU’s Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 sets the path for halting biodiversity loss, restoring ecosystems, and stepping up Europe’s contribution to averting global collapse of nature. The strategy is part of the Green Deal, the EU’s new agenda for making the EU’s economy sustainable. It plans to make Europe climate-neutral by 2050 and to protect, conserve and enhance the Union’s natural capital.
The strategy was adopted by the European Commission on 3 December 2016. It aims to halt biodiversity loss in Europe by 2020; restore habitats across the EU by 2027; ensure that all species and ecosystems are protected everywhere in Europe by 2030.
The EU’s Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 aims to protect, conserve and enhance the Union’s natural capital. The strategy is part of the Green Deal, the EU’s new agenda for making the EU’s economy sustainable. It plans to make Europe climate-neutral by 2050 and to protect, conserve and enhance the Union’s natural capital.
The strategy sets out the following six main objectives for 2030.
The strategy sets out the following six main objectives for 2030:
- Protecting, conserving and enhancing the EU’s biodiversity and ecosystems
- Restoring 15% of degraded ecosystems by 2020, which means creating around 11 million hectares of new habitat in total
- Phasing out harmful subsidies by 2030 that support environmentally damaging activities or products such as fossil fuels, fisheries or livestock production
- Turning the EU into a model region for biodiversity by integrating it into all policies and sectors that have an impact on it (which is known as Integrating Biodiversity)
Objective 1: Protecting, conserving and enhancing the EU’s biodiversity and ecosystems.
Protecting, conserving and enhancing the EU’s biodiversity and ecosystems
Why is this important?
The EU’s natural resources are facing multiple pressures from human activities. The 2015 State of Nature report identified that 12% of species in Europe are threatened with extinction. The Long Term Strategy for Biodiversity 2020 sets out a vision for a ‘healthy, diverse and productive’ future for nature in Europe. It aims to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2020, restore it by 2030, and maintain it beyond 2050 by ensuring that our actions do not undermine the ability of species to adapt to climate change or recover from disturbance events like floods or fires.
To achieve this objective we need action on several fronts: policies on nature protection; pollution reduction; sustainable management of natural resources (e.g., water); measures related to climate change mitigation; food safety; invasive alien species management; research into better understanding ecosystem functioning etc.; integrated approach thinking across sectors (e.g., agriculture sector) so we can achieve maximum impact with minimum resources invested using an ecosystem approach rather than sectoral approaches.”
Objective 2: Restoring 15% of degraded ecosystems.
The EU has a long history of nature conservation. It is the world’s largest area of protected land and water, with over 1,000 Natura 2000 sites covering almost 20% of its land surface.
The EU has a wide range of policies to protect biodiversity and ecosystems. These include:
- The EU Birds Directive (1979) which aims to conserve bird populations across Europe by providing protection from threats like habitat loss and hunting;
- The Habitats Directive (1992) which aims to ensure that European species are not made extinct or threatened in their natural habitats;
- The Water Framework Directive (2000);
With these policies in place, the EU has set itself a target: restoring 15% of degraded ecosystems by 2030.
Objective 3: Phasing out harmful subsidies by 2030.
The EU wants to phase out harmful subsidies by 2030. This is part of its strategy towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which include promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns, as well as reducing pollution.
The EU has set a target of phasing out all harmful subsidies by 2030. The EU has defined “harmful” subsidies as those that do not comply with Article 6 of the WTO’s Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures or are not compatible with environmental legislation such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).
Objective 4: Turning the EU into a model region for biodiversity by integrating it into all policies and sectors that have an impact on it.
To achieve its goals, the EU has developed a Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. The objective of this strategy is to “turn the EU into a model region for biodiversity by integrating it into all policies and sectors that have an impact on it.”
To achieve this goal, six main objectives were set out:
- Improve knowledge about biodiversity
- Safeguard important habitats and species with an emphasis on protected areas and networks
- Mitigate climate change impacts on biodiversity — in particular their ecological impacts (e.g., ocean acidification) as well as their human dimensions (e.g., loss of livelihoods)
- Promote sustainable use of natural resources while protecting species at risk or dependent upon specific habitats
- Increase public awareness of nature conservation issues so that people understand its value in society’s well-being
Objective 5: Ensuring that people in the EU and around the world benefit fairly and sustainably from the goods and services provided by biodiversity.
The EU’s Biodiversity Strategy will set out how the EU can help all people in the world to benefit from biodiversity in a sustainable and fair way. The objectives of this strategy are:
- To ensure that EU citizens, as well as people living outside its borders but who are affected by decisions and actions taken by the EU, benefit fairly and sustainably from the goods and services provided by biodiversity.
- To promote global cooperation on biodiversity issues through international negotiations on PAs, GEF funding for PAs, CBD implementation mechanisms (CAMs), REDD+ activities etc., with particular focus on strengthening regional cooperation between countries in similar ecological conditions and building capacity of developing countries to better manage their own natural resources through regional initiatives such as IBRA zones or REDD+.
- To ensure clear mechanisms for monitoring progress towards achieving these goals through national reports submitted by Member States which will be reviewed annually at political level with Member States’ involvement.
Objective 6: Halting the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU and beyond by 2030.
Biodiversity is a key resource for our societies, but it is threatened by several pressures such as land use change, fragmentation and degradation of ecosystems, climate change and pollution. The EU has a unique responsibility over this because most of its territory falls within Natura 2000 sites which cover over 18% or 1/6th of all land area on earth!
In order to achieve this goal countries have been asked to create their own national biodiversity strategies with clear objectives and actions to implement them.
The Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 seeks to secure a healthy planet for Europe’s citizens, a fair transition towards sustainable economies, as well as solid economic growth, full employment, social progress in Europe and around the world.
The strategy is part of the EU’s new agenda for making the EU’s economy sustainable.