Protect and restore our ecosystems

 

The natural environment is the life-line for human society. The services provided by our ecosystems – such as food, clean water and fertile soils – underpin all economic activity. ‘Biodiversity’, the web of life on this planet, is essential for these services to function. Quite apart from this, all wild species have their own right to exist alongside humans.

The EU has made a commitment to halt the loss of biodiversity and start restoring ecosystem services by 2020. The EU has world-class legislation that has established Natura 2000, the world’s biggest network of protected areas. However, implementation of the legislation underpinning Natura 2000 remains poor; some sites exist only on paper, many are already damaged or highly threatened. At the same time, land use and unsustainable energy policies, as well as inadequate spatial planning, are accelerating the damage, while funding for biodiversity remains sorely lacking.

MEPs Should

  • Ensure that the mid-term review of the EU's 2020 Biodiversity Strategy leads to a step change for its implementation, to put the EU on track to meet its 2020 biodiversity target.
  • Oversee correct implementation and enforcement of the EU's Birds and Habitats Directives in all Member States, and ensure the adoption of a rescue package for threatened Natura 2000 sites.
  • Champion through flexibility mechanisms in the EU budget a significant increase of funding for the highly successful and efficient LIFE Programme, in order to improve financing of Natura 2000.
  • Ensure that the adoption and implementation of new EU environmental initiatives will strengthen and complement Natura 2000, while strengthening the resilience of ecosystems in the wider landscape.
  • Oversee the implementation of new EU legislation to tackle the impacts of invasive alien species on biodiversity and people across the EU.