2010- Turning or Breaking Point for Europe's wildlife?
By 2010 the EU should have halted the loss of biological diversity within its own territory and beyond. This assessment, carried out by the BirdLife International Partnership, shows why the EU has failed to achieve this target and that it is still a long way off from preventing further loss of wildlife and habitats.
Pressure on wildlife and ecosystems is still high, with agriculture, transport, energy and urban development identified as the most important drivers of biodiversity loss. Experts from BirdLife Partners in the 27 EU Member States evaluated progress, measured against 10 major groups of indicators. Three of them are rated as ’highly insufficient’, while all the rest are considered ’inadequate’. The picture emerging from our assessment is one of continuing impoverishment of biodiversity and of inadequate responses to counteract this.
However, despite the overall failure, there are many examples of best practice and localised success stories that send an important positive message: the EU already has powerful conservation tools and, where there is political will to implement science-backed action, the results invariably follow. The report highlights examples from Member States that show how a strong biodiversity policy should be properly implemented across the EU.
Some of the main findings of the assessment are:
• Some of the most threatened groups of birds such as the birds of prey and the birds listed in Annex I of the Birds Directive are recovering, indicating the effectiveness of targeted conservation action.
• Great progress has been made in setting up the terrestrial Natura 2000 network of protected sites, but the network is still incomplete. The marine component of the network seriously lags behind. In most Member States proper management is still poor or lacking.
• Integration of biodiversity concerns into other policies and a severe shortage of funding are still the main stumbling blocks.
• The scientific underpinning of conservation has greatly improved with the development of national Red Lists and rapidly expanding bird monitoring schemes to show the way for biodiversity monitoring in many countries.
• Public access to environment information is generally regarded as good, probably as a result of the Aarhus Convention.
Based on these findings, the current report draws up specific recommendations for resolving the biodiversity crisis. It presents BirdLife’s long-term vision for Europe’s wildlife. It proposes a list of measurable and achievable targets and indicators, which would allow progress to be tracked. Finally, it proposes specific actions that would enable a new EU biodiversity policy framework to achieve its goals. These are grouped under four main headings: stronger governance and new legislation, investing in natural capital, building a green infrastructure and counteracting the drivers of biodiversity and ecosystem loss.
The message is clear: the EU needs to take rapid and decisive action if it wants to turn the tide on the deepening biodiversity crisis. We know what to do. The question is: do we have the will and the courage to take action before it’s too late?
Download the report here.
Next Page » The EU Biodiversity Strategy