Magazine Environment for Europeans
Strengthening public access to justice08/05/2017
The European Union has some of the most advanced laws to protect the environment in the world. But what happens when they are not applied properly?
The Environmental Implementation Review (EIR), a new tool from the European Commission, aims to help EU Member States achieve the benefits of fully applying existing environmental standards in areas such as waste management, nature and biodiversity, air quality, and water quality and management.
Ladybird Farm, in southern Hungary, is a leisure park with a difference. Offering a wide range of attractions for adults and children alike, it meets 80 % of its energy needs from sustainable sources. One of its most original features is allowing visitors to 'pay' part of their entrance fee in recyclable household waste, such as paper or plastic, encouraging people to understand the value of resources and what a circular economy means. Its pioneering approach has earned its owners a 2016-2017 European Business Award for the Environment.
Oceans, which make up 70 % of our planet, are threatened by pollution, illegal fishing, piracy and human trafficking. Ten million tonnes of litter end up in the oceans every year – that is a truckload a minute. Every single piece of plastic takes centuries to decompose. With a new agenda for the oceans, the EU aims to ensure that our oceans are secure, clean and sustainably managed, and to strengthen international ocean governance.
Many young Europeans are concerned about the future of the environment. The European Solidarity Corps, a new EU volunteering scheme will offer young Europeans the opportunity to transform their passion and goodwill into meaningful action.
According to a comprehensive Commission evaluation, bird populations, other protected species and natural habitats in Europe would be much worse off without protection from the Birds and Habitats Directives. While the Directives are fit for purpose, their implementation needs to be better and more uniform. In light of these findings, the European Commission is now preparing an Action Plan, to be published in 2017, providing comprehensive measures to substantially improve nature protection on the ground.
CITES is a global agreement designed to stop the illegal trafficking of wild plants and animals. At the last meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Johannesburg, for the first time the European Union took part as full member with full voting rights. Members of the EU Delegation to CITES describe their experience in Johannesburg, and what motivates them to protect our endangered species.
The European Union played a key role in brokering the world's first universal, legally binding climate deal in Paris in December 2015. Today, the EU is continuing to lead global efforts to deliver on the ambitious accord, the first major multilateral deal of the 21st century.
In 2017, Essen takes centre stage in the promotion of environmentally friendly urban living in Europe. The European Green Capital Award honours its remarkable success in dealing with the environmental legacy of an economy once dominated by coal and steel, and its transition to a green city 'fit for life'.
Sustainable development touches all aspects of life, from growing populations, climate change, halting biodiversity loss, to migration and youth employment. A European Commission Communication outlines the long-term vision for a truly sustainable European future.
A new integrated EU policy for the Arctic has been adopted. It focuses on strengthening international cooperation, tackling climate change, enhancing environmental protection and promoting sustainable development in this region of enormous environmental and economic importance.