European governments heading for biodiversity disaster
By Caroline Jacobsson, Tue, 02/10/2012 - 08:05
In its report On the Road to Recovery?, released today, BirdLife Europe offers the only comprehensive assessment on the progress the EU is making towards the six targets (1) set in its EU Biodiversity Strategy, which aims at halting the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU by 2020. BirdLife Europe concludes that unless harmful EU subsidies in agriculture, fisheries, transport and energy sectors come to an end and funding for nature conservation increase (2), European governments risk derailing the Strategy entirely. Ariel Brunner, Head of Policy at BirdLife Europe stated “European governments need to start investing in the environment now and stop listening to obstructive lobbyists.” He continued “Making wrong decisions on the EU budget and agriculture reform in the current negotiations mean that the EU risks failing the Strategy.” In 2010 the European Union missed its target to halt biodiversity decline because of weak implementation of legislation, lack of funding and a systemic failure to reform sectoral policies such as agriculture and fisheries. Recognising the urgency and importance of safeguarding our ecosystems, the EU has adopted a new 2020 headline target. Two years after the adoption of the 2020 target and of the EU’s international commitments made at the meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya in 2010 the European BirdLife Partnership undertakes a first stocktaking exercise of progress made ‘on the road to’ the 2020 target and intends to repeat this assessment at regular intervals until 2020. BirdLife Europe proposes a solution that includes reforming the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and steering the current EU budget negotiations for the period 2014-2020 towards investments in biodiversity and ecosystems. The first milestone in the progress towards 2020 is to achieve adequate investment in biodiversity. Consequently BirdLife Europe also assessed whether or not the current negotiations on the 2014-2020 EU budget are promising enough to finally reform environmentally harmful subsidies and channel the needed investments in biodiversity conservation. Each one of the EU Member States has also been looked at individually to detect areas where they are showing leadership or lagging behind.
Janez Potocnik, European Commissioner of the Environment (right) receives On the Road to Recovery from Ariel Brunner, Head of EU Policy at BirdLife EuropeNotes: Project website On the Road to Recovery Full report in pdf: On the Road to Recovery Executive Summary in pdf: On the Road to Recovery 1. The six targets are: 1. Fully implement the Birds and Habitats Directives 2. Maintain and restore ecosystems and their services 3. Increase the contribution of agriculture and forestry to maintaining and enhancing biodiversity 4. Ensure the sustainable use of fisheries resources 5. Help combat Invasive Alien Species 6. Help avert global biodiversity loss 2. BirdLife Europe recommends increased funding for nature conservation:
- Increase the total budget of the EU’s environmental fund “LIFE” from 0,23% to 1% of the total EU Budget (circa EUR 1.5 billion per year);
- Balance the two pillars of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and ensure 50% of its total budget delivers towards the Rural Development Programme;
- Ensure the EU Budget delivers 20% of climate action, especially through climate mitigation under Cohesion Policy;
- Establish a tracking system that documents specific positive and negative effects of EU funds for climate and biodiversity.