The resolution, which was adopted on Friday 20 April 2012, is a follow-up to 'Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020' as tabled by the European Commission in May 2011.
"The services that nature provides us with, like clean water, clean air, fertile soil, food, are not only crucial for the well-being of human kind, they also represent an astronomical economic value. According to economists, each year we lose 3% of GDP due to the loss of biodiversity. That costs the EU €450 billion year after year. Compared to these figures, investing €5.8 billion per year in Natura 2000 is a bargain!" said rapporteur Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy (ALDE, NL).
The European Parliament emphasises that the loss of biodiversity "has devastating economic costs for society which until now have not been integrated sufficiently into economic and other policies".
"The real key to this issue is not this new strategy, but, rather, the forthcoming reforms of the common agricultural and fisheries policies and the multiannual financial framework (MFF)", the resolution says.
The Council (ENV) adopted conclusions on the implementation of the EU 2020 biodiversity Strategy at its meeting on 19 December 2011. These conclusions constitute the second political response of the Council, intervening in the context of ongoing negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2014-2020 and at a time when other EU policies which are relevant to the achievement of the EU biodiversity headline target by 2020 - in particular the Common Agricultural Policy, the Common Fisheries Policy and the Cohesion Policy - are undergoing a reform process.
Without prejudging the outcomes of these negotiations, the Council stressed the need to integrate biodiversity concerns into all EU and national sectoral policies, in order to reverse the continuing trends of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation.
At its plenary session of 26 and 27 October 2011 the European Economic and Social Committee adopted its opinion on the EU 2020 biodiversity Strategy.
The Council (ENV) adopted conclusions on the EU 2020 biodiversity Strategy at its meeting on 21 June 2011.
The European Commission has adopted an ambitious new strategy to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU by 2020. There are six main targets, and 20 actions to help Europe reach its goal. Biodiversity loss is an enormous challenge in the EU, with around one in four species currently threatened with extinction and 88% of fish stocks over-exploited or significantly depleted.
The six targets cover:
The strategy is in line with two commitments made by EU leaders in March 2010. The first is the 2020 headline target: "Halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020, and restoring them in so far as feasible, while stepping up the EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss"; the second is the 2050 vision: “By 2050, European Union biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides – its natural capital – are protected, valued and appropriately restored for biodiversity's intrinsic value and for their essential contribution to human wellbeing and economic prosperity, and so that catastrophic changes caused by the loss of biodiversity are avoided.”
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 of a package of measures to address global biodiversity loss over the coming decade.
Target 2, of the six operational targets included in the EU Biodiversity Strategy, states that "by 2020, ecosystems and their services are maintained and enhanced by establishing Green Infrastructure and restoring at least 15% of degraded ecosystems". The European Commission financed a study to examine the financial costs associated with the achievement of this target. The final report of this study was accepted by the Commission in August 2013.
EU Outermost Regions and Countries and Territories are home to exceptional biodiversity, but are also very vulnerable to climate change. BEST, the "Voluntary scheme for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Territories of European Overseas", aims to promote conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services, including ecosystem-based approaches to climate adaptation and mitigation.
The two open calls for proposals BEST 2011 and BEST 2012 to implement a preparatory action initiated by the European Parliament with a budget of 2 million € each attracted 41 eligible proposals (BEST 2011) and 42 proposals (BEST 2012).
The third year of the preparatory action was implemented through an open call for tender in 2013 with the aim to sustain the initiative through partnerships built on collaborative and participatory, networking and practical activities. The successful tenderer for the 4 year contract, starting on 2 December 2013, is a consortium led by IUCN bringing together key players of all the regions of the EU overseas.