We aim to halt biodiversity loss in the EU and help stop global biodiversity loss by 2020. Here is how we intend to protect the natural capital essential to our health and our economy.
The Birds and Habitats Directives are the pillars of our nature legislation. New laws now tackle specific issues such as invasive alien species.
The world's largest network of protected areas, it offers a haven to Europe's most valuable and threatened species and habitats.
We aim to protect all animal and plant species facing particular threats in Europe and work with CITES to fight illegal wildlife trade across the world.
The EU promotes nature-based solutions as a cost-effective alternative to traditional infrastructure. It's good for society, the economy and the environment.
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We all depend on nature for our food, air, water, energy and raw materials. Nature and biodiversity make life possible, provide health and social benefits and drive our economy. Healthy ecosystems can also help us cope with the impacts of climate change.
However, natural ecosystems and their vital services are under pressure from urban sprawl, intensive agriculture, pollution, invasive species and climate change. In line with our international commitments, the EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 aims to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. The strategy sets out 6 targets and 20 actions to achieve these objectives by 2020. EU nature legislation, most notably the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive, forms the backbone of biodiversity policy and the legal basis for our nature protection network.
Over the last 25 years we have built the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world, which is one of the outstanding EU achievements. Known as Natura 2000, it stretches across all Member States and currently covers over 18% of the EU’s land area and more than 6% of its seas territories. The Natura 2000 biogeographical process encourages cooperation and makes sure that protection measures can be tailored to suit specific regional needs. We also work to protect species facing particular threats.
But protected natural areas cannot thrive in isolation. We have a strategy to connect these areas using green infrastructure to restore ecosystem services and allow species to thrive across their entire habitat. To protect native biodiversity, we also seek to address the problem of invasive alien species. Natural Capital Accounting provides an approach for quantifying our natural capital and integrating this into decision making.
A new report on "Supporting the implementation of Green Infrastructure" presents the outputs of a contract commissioned by DG Environment which aims to promote GI, build capacity for its deployment, improve information exchange, assess technical standards and innovation opportunities, and explore the potential for a Trans-European Network for Green Infrastructure (TEN-G).
A new study on the Health and social benefits of nature published by DG Environment provides evidence of the relationship between public health and nature, the socio-economic benefits of protecting biodiversity and the different approaches being used across the EU.