Target 6 of the EU Biodiversity Strategy states that
By 2020, the EU has stepped up its contribution to averting global biodiversity loss.
Summary of EU progress on reaching Target 6 on global biodiversity:
The EU is a major driver of global biodiversity loss through some of its common policies, harmful subsidies, and unsustainable production and consumption patterns.
Despite its relatively progressive role in multilateral environmental agreements and although first initiatives have been taken to increase resource efficiency, no significant progress of the EU in actively reducing its global ecological footprint can be observed. In particular, the EU-bioenergy policy is expected to have an increasingly detrimental impact on global ecosystems, as EU subsidized overfishing already has.
At the same time, despite promises made in 2010 the EU is so far failing to demonstrate it will mobilise its fair share of financial resources to address global biodiversity loss. The public budget crisis makes decision makers point at the need for private sector contributions; however they are shying away from proposing concrete and legally binding solutions in this respect.
Positive developments towards Target 6:
- The EU has been instrumental for progress of the CBD (adoption of Strategic Plan 2011-2020, Nagoya Protocol), TEEB and IPBES.
- The European Commission launched a 2020 “flagship initiative” on resource efficiency.
- The EU adopted a Timber Regulation (prohibition of selling illegally harvested timber).
- Several EU Member States made unilateral pledges at the CBD and UNFCCC (Green Climate Fund) for higher contributions to global biodiversity action – while questions about additionality of these funds remain largely unresolved.
Delays and missed opportunities towards Target 6:
- Most EU Member States and the EU (through its own budget) are reluctant to commit sufficient financial resources for global biodiversity action.
- For two years the EU has financed a Preparatory Action for the Voluntary scheme for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Territories of the EU Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories (BEST). However, the EU has not provided clarity on the implementation of the scheme beyond its preparatory phase, including ensuring sufficient funding sources. E.g. despite proposing to widen the territorial scope of its environmental funding programme LIFE, the European Commission is reluctant to explicitly include Overseas Countries and Territories.
- The European Commission failed to deliver a strategy for environmental mainstreaming in EU development aid programmes (agreed in the European Council for 2011).
Counterproductive developments towards Target 6:
- The EU Member States risk to reject even relatively unambitious reform proposals on EU agriculture and fisheries subsidies; a systematic strategy to phase out environmentally harmful subsidies is lacking, with detrimental ecological consequences around the globe (both direct, and through sending wrong poltical signals).
- EU Renewable Energy Policy lacks important sustainability safeguards, in particular on biomass production and biofuels where the EU is reluctant to include a factor of Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC).
Milestones – what needs to be achieved by 2014:
- The EU committed at global level to support developing countries in reaching the CBD objectives through reliable, predictable and adequate financial flows; at CBD-COP 11 specific targets have been agreed for Resource Mobilisation and sufficient funding is mobilised for the Global Environment Facility (GEF) by EU Member States.
- The EU 2014-2020 budget mainstreams biodiversity adequately in development aid and climate financing programmes, and tracks biodiversity expenditure.
- The EU formalised the process to implement BEST and ensured sufficient funding sources for the 2014-2020 period including by opening the EU 2014-2020 LIFE programme to EU Overseas Countries and Territories.
- Sustainability criteria to EU renewable energy targets are improved; the 10% “de-facto biofuels target” is abolished, or a factor of Indirect Land Use included; legally binding sustainability criteria for woody biomass are adopted.
- The EU champions initiatives for biodiversity in its neighbourhood areas, e.g. a binding pan- European forest framework. More on forestry and the EU Biodiversity Strategy.
- Ambitious indicators have been adopted for the EU’s Ressource Efficiency Roadmap. The EU has the political committment to reduce its absolute ressource consumption to the level of the year 2000.