Nature & Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the intricate web of life on which we all depend. The unprecedented loss of biological diversity that we are currently facing threatens to push our planet's life support systems beyond the point of no return.
The EU adopted a strong stance to reverse this trend and EU leaders are committed to halting biodiversity loss in Europe by 2010. However, it is not likely that this target will be met as biodiversity and ecosystem services have on the whole continued to deteriorate. A new biodiversity policy framework is needed that will prove effective in addressing the biodiversity crisis.
During 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity, a new EU vision and target on Biodiversity will be adopted, and these will contribute to the debate on a post-2010 biodiversity framework at global level in the context of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, to which the EU is a party.
The UN Convention calls for a global network to protect biodiversity. The EU response is Natura 2000 – the biggest ecological network of protected areas in the world, which comprises an area equivalent to approximately 18% of EU territory and is growing all the time. One key element of the EU approach is that sustainable socio-economic development is permitted inside the network, provided it is carried out in a controlled way.
Halting the loss of biodiversity in the EU is possible – but for that to happen there must be effective implementation of the EU Birds and Habitats Directives and all the other biodiversity-related policies, strategies and legislation that have been adopted at EU level.
The EU's Action Plan to halt the loss of biodiversity includes ten priority objectives, including biodiversity in the EU, global biodiversity, climate change and strengthening the knowledge base. To succeed, we need strong partnerships between EU institutions, national authorities and civil society.