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EU biodiversity policy development

In a nutshell

Today, our commitment to biodiversity and the issues we need to target as a priority are all defined in the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. But we have been committed to protect the invaluable biodiversity of the EU since 1998.

In practice

The EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 was adopted on 3 May 2011. It aims to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU by 2020.

Our strategy stems from two commitments made by European leaders in 2010 and is also in line with the commitments taken by the EU at the international Convention on Biological Diversity.

Find out how and why the strategy came to be and who helped develop it. Here you can also find links to the official documents and the opinions of the various institutions which helped develop this policy.

A brief history…

  • 19 January 2010: In a communication, the Commission set out possible options for an EU vision and target for biodiversity beyond 2010 PDF български cs es da de et el en fr it lv lt hu mt nl pl pt română sk sl fi sv. It proposes a long-term (2050) vision for biodiversity, with four options for a mid-term (2020) target

    Press release: "What next for biodiversity protection in the EU?"
  • 15 March 2010: In its conclusionsPDF, the Environment Council agrees on this long-term vision and mid-term target for biodiversity in the EU for the period beyond 2010. It also further develops the EU position ahead of the international biodiversity negotiations of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Our target for 2020? 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.

Our vision for 2050? Our biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides – its natural capital – are protected, valued and appropriately restored for their intrinsic value and essential contribution to human wellbeing and economic prosperity, and so that catastrophic changes caused by the loss of biodiversity are avoided.

  • 26 March 2010: in its conclusionsPDF, the European Council commits to the EU post-2010 vision and target for biodiversity and underscores the urgent need to reverse continuing trends of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation.
  • 9 and 10 June 2010: the Committee of the Regions adopts in plenary session its final opinion on the "EU and international biodiversity policy beyond 2010" DOC.
  • 15 and 16 September 2010: the European Economic and Social Committee adopts its opinion on the Communication from the Commission: "Options for an EU vision and target for biodiversity beyond 2010".
  • 21 September 2010: of its own initiative, the European Parliament adopts in plenary session resolution P7_TA(2010)0325, on the implementation of EU legislation for the conservation of biodiversity.
  • 3 May 2011: the Commission addresses a communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020. This is our Biodiversity Strategy.

Reactions of the other institutions

  • 21 June 2011: In its conclusionsPDF, the Environment Council of Ministers states that the Biodiversity Strategy "and its proper implementation is key to building a sustainable Europe".
  • 26 and 27 October 2011: the European Economic and Social Committee adopts its opinion DOC on the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy and insists that "the forthcoming political reform processes (e.g. fisheries, agricultural, transport, energy and cohesion policy) [must] be closely linked to the Biodiversity Strategy".
  • 19 December 2011: in its conclusionsPDF, the Environment Council stresses 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.
  • 20 April 2012: the European Parliament emphasises in a resolutionPDF that the loss of biodiversity "has devastating economic costs for society which until now have not been integrated sufficiently into economic and other policies".

More about the development of the EU biodiversity policy

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