The European Commission presented today a new strategy to protect and improve the state of Europe's biodiversity over the next decade.
The strategy includes six targets which address the main drivers of biodiversity loss, and which will reduce the main pressures on nature and ecosystem services in the EU by anchoring biodiversity objectives in key sectoral policies. The global aspects of biodiversity loss are also addressed, ensuring that the EU contributes to combating biodiversity loss around the world. The strategy is in line with the commitments made by the EU in Nagoya, Japan, last year.European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik said: "We are part of biodiversity, but we also depend on it for our food, for fresh water and clean air, and for a stable climate. It's our natural capital that we are spending too fast – and we all know what happens when we borrow beyond our means. We should all be aware of the severity of this situation and our past failures to address the problem. The time has come to step up our efforts enormously. I am confident this new multi-sectoral approach will put us on track to halt biodiversity loss by 2020. "
In Europe, biodiversity is in crisis, with species extinctions running at unparalleled rates. Many ecosystems are degraded to the point where they are no longer able to deliver the wide variety of services we depend on – from clean air and water to pollination of crops and protection from floods. This degradation represents enormous social and economics losses for the EU. Insect pollination, for example, which is heavily declining in Europe, has an estimated economic value of €15 billion per year in the EU. The situation is no less worrying at the global level.
The strategy is in line with two major commitments made by EU leaders in March 2010 – halting the loss of biodiversity in the EU by 2020, and protecting, valuing and restoring EU biodiversity and ecosystem services by 2050. It is also in line with global commitments made in Nagoya in October 2010, in the context of the Convention on Biological Diversity, where world leaders adopted a package of measures to address biodiversity loss world wide over the coming decade.
As an integral part of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the biodiversity strategy will contribute to the EU's resource efficiency objectives by ensuring that Europe's natural capital is managed sustainably, as well as to climate change mitigation and adaptation goals by improving the resilience of ecosystems and the services they provide.