The European Commission’s new Action Plan to ensure EU nature protection rules are better implemented is an important step in the right direction – but the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) warns that biodiversity will continue to decline without further action to tackle major pressures on wildlife and habitats.
The EEB is Europe’s largest network of environmental organisations with 141 members in 33 countries.
The ‘Action plan for nature, people and the economy’, published today, follows a Commission decision last December not to rewrite or weaken the EU’s flagship nature laws – the Birds and Habitats Directives – after two years of uncertainty over their future. The measures it entails are essential to address shortcomings in the laws’ implementation and Member States, local authorities, and site managers, in particular, must play their part to put it into action. However, the plan on its own won’t be enough if the EU is to meet its target of halting biodiversity loss by 2020.
EEB Policy Officer for Biodiversity, Water and Ecosystems, Leonardo Mazza, said:
“The plan includes welcome measuresthat support the long overdue completion of the ‘Natura 2000’ network of protected sites and the putting in place of necessary conservation measures for all sites. However, its narrow approach to better implementing EU nature laws won’t be enough to meet EU biodiversity goals. To reverse the continuous degradation of Europe’s natural heritage further measures to improve connectivity between protected areas, tackle nature conservation’s chronic underfunding and protect pollinators will be crucial. A radical overhaul of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), to ensure it is coherent with nature conservation objectives, will be essential too.”
Notes to editors:
> The Action Plan is the final step of the Fitness Check process of the EU Nature Directives, which concluded the directives fit for purpose, but also identified the need for a substantial improvement in their implementation.
> The EU nature laws are fundamental to nature protection in Europe, safeguarding more than 1,400 threatened species and one million square kilometres of natural habitats in Europe that fall under their protection. They are also very popular, and have been fiercely defended by scientists, the public, businesses, the European Parliament and national governments. A record half a million people called on the Commission to save and enforce these laws as part of the Europe-wide #NatureAlert campaign.
> On 21 May 2017 it is the 25th anniversary of the Habitats Directive.
For more information:
Emily Macintosh, Communications Officer, European Environmental Bureau