The European Commission has today published its mid-term report (1) on the EU’s biodiversity strategy to 2020 (2), which was adopted in 2011.
Overall the assessment gives a sobering picture of progress in implementing the strategy to date and warns that the overall target of halting biodiversity loss won’t be met unless action, in particular by member states, is stepped up. The report highlights that biodiversity loss continues and recognises only very limited progress in restoring ecosystems. It suggests that among the main factors driving biodiversity loss are insufficient implementation and enforcement of existing legislation and increasing pressure from intensive farming.
Leonardo Mazza, Senior Policy Officer for Biodiversity and Ecosystems at the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) comments:
“Had there been a true commitment from both the European Commission and member states to fully implement all of the EU biodiversity strategy’s six targets, we could actually have avoided some of the biodiversity loss that has happened since the adoption of this strategy and we would be closer to achieving its target of halting biodiversity loss entirely by 2020.”
“This mid-term review accurately reports that many protected habitats and species retain an unfavourable conservation status but it could have linked this more clearly to the patchy implementation of the Birds and Habitats Directives which is a key factor behind this slow recovery. This just reinforces our message that without fully implementing and enforcing these laws significant progress towards halting biodiversity loss by 2020 won’t be made.”
“We welcome the Commission’s recognition that the new CAP, currently being rolled out, can in no way be seen as making any contribution to maintaining and enhancing biodiversity. As member state governments are not using the CAP’s in-built flexibility to support more sustainable agriculture practices, they will be the ones responsible for the agriculture sector remaining the main driver of biodiversity loss in Europe for years to come.”
The report also makes a positive assessment of progress on tackling invasive alien species. Leonardo Mazza comments:
“The first list of 37 species due to be adopted soon fails to include many of the most problematic species. Unless this gap is addressed soon we won’t be able to prevent the introduction, establishment and spreading of new invasive alien species at the expense of our biodiversity.”
Leonardo Mazza concludes:
“The Commission has also deprived itself of a good opportunity to start averting global biodiversity loss by withdrawing its proposed circular economy package. Let’s hope that the delay in adopting it will be compensated by a truly more ambitious proposal”.