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Common Framework and Guidance Documents for Biodiversity proofing of the EU budget

The EU has committed itself to halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020. Efforts are therefore needed to ensure primarily, that spending under the EU budget has no negative impacts on biodiversity, and additionally, that spending under the EU budget is overall supportive to achieving the biodiversity targets.

As support for this, the Commission's "Common Framework for Biodiversity proofing of the EU budget" provides a practical Common Framework for Proofing the EU Budget including general and fund-specific guidelines to be used by national and regional authorities as well as by Commission services. The following guidance documents are available:

The common framework (general guidance) represents a standardised approach that can be applied to most EU funds by national and regional authorities in Member States. It does not apply to centralised and non-programmed funds (most notably Pillar 1 of the Common Agricultural Policy) since opportunities for proofing centrally managed non-programmed funds are very different to other funds. The general guidance document also includes a "Guidance on proofing the policy cycle" chapter, which targets the Commission services.

The fund-specific guidance documents mainly focus on biodiversity proofing the project cycle, i.e. calls for proposals, project development and selection, project execution and project monitoring and evaluation. The guidance documents target national and regional authorities in Member States.

The above guidance documents are a follow up to the "Background Study towards biodiversity proofing of the EU budget". This initial study examines the opportunities for "Biodiversity-proofing" the EU budget, which is defined in the study as a structured process of ensuring the effective application of tools to avoid or at least minimize harmful impacts of EU spending and to maximise the biodiversity benefits. It applies to all spending streams under the EU budget, across the whole budgetary cycle and at all levels of governance. The study gives recommendations on the first steps and on the entry points of "biodiversity proofing" the EU budget with a focus on the CAP Pillar 1 and 2, ERDF, Cohesion Fund, CEF, TEN-E, TEN-T, EMFF, Horizon 2020 and the LIFE Programme.