The eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11) was held in Hyderabad, India, from 8 to 19 October 2012. Following the ambitious package adopted at COP10, COP 11 marked the move from policy-making to implementation. A number of important decisions were adopted, on issues such as biodiversity and climate change (relevant safeguards with regard to REDD+); better conservation and more sustainable use of marine biodiversity (ecologically or biologically significant areas – EBSAs); and the enhancement of cooperation and synergy within the three Rio Conventions and the biodiversity-related conventions. On the crucial issue of resource mobilisation, CBD Parties committed to an overall substantial increase of total biodiversity-related funding for the implementation of the Strategic Plan from a variety of sources, and resolved to achieve preliminary targets, to be reviewed at COP 12, which will take place in Korea in 2014.
COP 12 will inter alia undertake a mid-term review of progress towards achieving the Aichi targets; and tackling the many demands being placed on the Convention; ranging from new scientific work on marine and coastal biodiversity, to continued work towards the entry into force of the Nagoya Protocol.
Against that background, some urgent steps and actions need to be undertaken by the EU, with a view not only to implement its commitments in the CBD context and to implement the EU biodiversity Strategy, but also to enable the EU to maintain its leadership on biodiversity protection at international level.
On May 3 2011, the European Commission adopted a new strategy to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU by 2020, in line with two commitments made by EU leaders in March 2010 – 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"- and a vision for 2050: "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". The strategy is also in line with the 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.
At the occasion of the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Japan in October 2010, the 193 Parties to the Convention adopted an agreement on a global strategy to combat biodiversity loss over the next decade.
This includes the adoption of a new ten year Strategic Plan, enhanced efforts by all Parties to mobilise financial resources to implement the plan and the approval of a new international protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilisation (the ABS agreement).
The EU will now ensure that these commitments will be fully reflected in its own post-2010 biodiversity Strategy to be adopted early in 2011. The Environment Ministers of the European Union are to adopt conclusions on the Nagoya conference in December 2010 at the meeting of the Environment Council.
On 27 September 2010 the European Parliament adopted its resolution on the EU strategic objectives for the 10th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to be held in Nagoya (Japan) from 18 to 29 October 2010
At its Plenary Session of 21 September 2010 the European Parliament adopted its own initiative resolution on the implementation of EU legislation aiming at the conservation of biodiversity of 21 September 2010
At its plenary session of 15 and 16 September 2010 the European Economic and Social Committee adopted its opinion on the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - Options for an EU vision and target for biodiversity beyond 2010. .
At its Plenary Session of 9 and 10 June 2010, the Committee of the Regions adopted its final opinion on the "EU and international biodiversity policy beyond 2010".
In its conclusions of 26 March, the European Council has committed to the EU post-2010 vision and target for biodiversity and underscored the urgent need to reverse continuing trends of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation.
In its conclusions of 15 March, the Environment Council agreed a new long-term vision and mid-term headline target for biodiversity in the EU for the period beyond 2010, when the current target expires.
The new target is:
To halt the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020, restore them in so far as feasible, while stepping up the EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss.
This target will underpin the new EU biodiversity strategy to be developed this year.
The Council also further developed the EU position ahead of the international negotiations on biodiversity under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), building on earlier conclusions on this issue adopted on 22 December 2009. These conclusions stress, inter alia, that the global post-2010 targets to be agreed at the 10th Conference of the Parties to the CBD in Nagoya, Japan in October this year must be recognised and embraced by stakeholders in the key sectors concerned, and that they should be endorsed at the highest political level. On Access to genetic resources and Benefit Sharing (ABS), the conclusions for the first time explicitly call for the adoption of a Protocol to the CBD, with legally binding and non-binding provisions.
The Commission has set out possible future options for biodiversity policy in the EU for the period after 2010.
The Communication proposes a long-term (2050) vision for biodiversity, with four options for a mid-term (2020) target – an essential step along the way towards reaching the vision. In this vision, biodiversity and the ecosystem services we get for free from nature are preserved, valued and, insofar as possible, restored for their intrinsic value, enabling them to support economic prosperity and human well-being, and averting any catastrophic changes linked to biodiversity loss.
Halting the loss of Biodiversity by 2010 - and beyond: Sustaining ecosystem services for human well-being
EU Heads of State and Government undertook in 2001 to halt the decline of biodiversity in the EU by 2010 and to restore habitats and natural systems. In 2002, they also joined some 130 world leaders in agreeing to significantly reduce the rate of biodiversity loss globally by 2010.
In May 2006, the European Commission adopted a communication on "Halting Biodiversity Loss by 2010 – and Beyond: Sustaining ecosystem services for human well-being". The Communication underlined the importance of biodiversity protection as a pre-requisite for sustainable development, as well as setting out a detailed EU Biodiversity Action Plan to achieve this.