The EU is taking steps to increase biodiversity and protect natural areas

The EU is taking steps to increase biodiversity and protect natural areas

Member states' representatives approved on Friday the assumptions of the biodiversity strategy and its goals for the protection and restoration of nature. "27" agreed, inter alia for at least 30%. EU land areas were protected.

"Protecting biodiversity is finally gaining the importance it deserves. The coronavirus pandemic has shown us that the destruction of nature is a crisis that runs behind other crises," Svenja Schulze, Minister of Environment of Germany, said at a press conference in Luxembourg.

The biodiversity strategy discussed by EU environment ministers is part of the European Green Deal. The European Commission presented it in May and is now backed by the Member States, recognizing the urgent need to address direct and indirect factors of biodiversity and nature loss, such as over-exploitation of natural resources, climate change, pollution, invasive alien species and land use and seas.

"Ministers supported the objectives of the strategy, welcoming, in particular, the creation of protected areas and the goal of protecting at least 30% of the EU's land area and 30% of the sea," said EU Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkeviczius.

The Council of the EU underlined that protecting, maintaining and restoring biodiversity and healthy, well-functioning ecosystems will contribute to increasing resilience and will prevent the emergence and spread of new diseases.

The conclusions adopted on Friday contain political guidance on the implementation of the strategy. EU capitals called on the European Commission to include the goals of the biodiversity plan in the projects of EU law. The EU Council also highlighted the need to integrate these objectives into other sectors such as agriculture, fisheries and forestry.

Member states also supported the goal of creating a network of well-managed protected areas and the goal of protecting at least 30% of the land area of ​​the EU and 30%. the EU maritime area. Member States are to achieve this target jointly - with the participation of all and taking into account national conditions. The new site is to be based on the Natura 2000 network and to be completed with additional sites designated by the Member States.

The conclusions highlighted the need to increase ambition in terms of nature restoration. Member States want the Commission to present legally binding targets in this regard, together with an impact assessment.

The ministers also agreed that a significant proportion of 30%. the EU budget and expenditure from the Next Generation EU reconstruction plan for climate action was invested in biodiversity and the solutions that support it, based on natural resources.

Krzysztof Strzępka (PAP) from Brussels