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The 2006 Biodiversity Communication "Halting Biodiversity Loss by 2010 - and Beyond: Sustaining ecosystem services for human well-being"includes measures such as building partnerships between government, academia, conservation practitioners, landowners and users, private sector, finance sector, educational sector and the media.

Biodiversity is one of the foundations of both a sustainable environment but also a sustainable economy, since the activities of all companies can have an impact on biodiversity, either directly or indirectly. The European Commission seeks to enhance co-operation between the business and the nature conservation sectors to develop win-win solutions benefiting biodiversity, and at the same time meeting economic needs.

Supporting Business for Biodiversity – The 'BTAU' project:
Biodiversity Technical Assistance Units

This project aims to directly assist the efforts of business with developing and implementing pro-biodiversity projects. The ongoing service contract includes concept work (such as the identification of opportunities, scoping, identification of gaps and elements that are impeding factors). It aims to help creating ‘Pro-Biodiversity’ Businesses through dedicated Biodiversity Technical Assistance Units (BTAU), one in each of the pilot project countries: Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland.

The Units apply a public-private partnership approach to explore business opportunities for safeguarding biodiversity. It aims at linking commercial loan funding with public subsidies to produce long-term, site and region-specific economic and nature benefits with a special focus on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The project highlights the opportunities and constraints faced by SMEs in managing biodiversity in a sustainable way, and at the same time achieving commercial viability.

Within the framework of the BTAU project a handbook is compiled, which is now available to help you generating win-win solution pro-biodiversity business opportunities.

The Business and Biodiversity Platform

As a conclusion of the 'Lisbon Conference' on Business and Biodiversity (2007), the Commission committed itself to provide technical support for further developing the EU Business and Biodiversity (B@B) Initiative. The Commission has published a call for tender to establish a technical facility / platform, and has foreseen its implementation within the EU Biodiversity Strategy by 2020.

The B@B Platform web-site includes the collection of up-to-date information on knowhow and best practices; promotes co-operation within and among the sectors; enhances business and financial sector engagement; presents sectoral guidance documents on business contribution to achieving EU biodiversity targets;

The EU B@B awards in a framework of the European Business Awards for the Environment has been established to acknowledge outstanding performance.

The success of the EU B@B Platform will further depend on the level of business involvement and DG Environment is looking forward to co-operate with interested businesses and sectoral umbrella organisations on this initiative.

More information on the European Business and Biodiversity Platform website;


Business and Biodiversity – important milestones

  • The Biodiversity Action Plan, attached to the 2006 Biodiversity Communication includes Action B3.1.6 on developing business and biodiversity partnerships, and Action B3.1.7 on development of partnerships between the financing sector and biodiversity
  • The 'Lisbon Conference' on Business and Biodiversity(2007): A new EU initiative on business and biodiversity, including the financing sector, was explored in a partnership of the European Commission and the Portuguese EU Presidency, which aimed to introduce biodiversity considerations into corporate governance through voluntary initiatives. A milestone event in these consultations has been a major stakeholder conference on Business and Biodiversity hosted by Portugal, at which an EU Business and Biodiversity Initiative was launched.
  • Mid-term Report on the delivery to the EU Biodiversity Action Plan published in December 2008 reinforced the importance of business involvement. Twenty Member States out of twenty-five have indicated in their 2008 report that they have national initiatives aimed at promoting partnerships for biodiversity.
  • 'The Message from Athens', lays down the first principles of the future EU biodiversity policy and is the outcome of the high-level conference 'Biodiversity Protection – Beyond 2010' (27-28 April, 2009, Athens, Greece). It states that enhancement of business and financial sector engagement is one of the key biodiversity policy priorities for the Commission.


The Emerald Network of areas of Special Conservation Interest

Set up under the Bern Convention, the Emerald Network – envisaged as early as 1989 – was given practical form in 1996 by the Standing Committee to the Bern Convention. The aim was to supplement the Natura 2000 Network, on a similar basis, in non-Community countries, based on the highest possible methodological synergy. Along with helping to identify and conserve core areas of the Pan-European Ecological Network, the Emerald Network, which is in the process of being developed, also facilitates the establishment of national networks of protected areas. As the European Union is also a Contracting Party to the Bern Convention, Natura 2000 is considered to be the EU contribution to the Emerald Network.

In the period 2009-2011, the European Commission and the Council of Europe have been implementing a Joint Programme on the setting-up of the Emerald Network in the seven following countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and the European part of the Russian Federation. The objective of this Joint Programme was to identify at the end of 2011 all potential sites of the Emerald Network in the three countries of South-Caucasus and in Moldova. The objective set for Belarus and the Federation of Russian was to identify 50 % of the potential sites and in Ukraine, 80 % of the potential sites. The following video presents the results of the project, which will be continued: