The EU has a strong history of biodiversity awareness: indeed, the Amsterdam Treaty specifies that "environmental protection requirements must be integrated into the definition and implementation of Community policies and activities".
The European Community and all EU Member States are signatories of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) which aims to promote the conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of its components, and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.
The EU has developed a long-term Biodiversity Strategy – both inside and outside Europe – which follows four main themes: conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity; sharing benefits from using genetic resources; research, identification, monitoring and exchange of information; and education, training and awareness.
Europe is meeting its strategic objectives for biodiversity through a wealth of practical initiatives including:
Legislation to protect biodiversity was strengthened by the Habitat, Bird and Water Directives. These support the Convention on Biological Diversity and ensure that all [economic] sectors contribute to preserving and husbanding biodiversity.
Natura 2000 – A network of sites covering 13% of the entire EU territory that will result in habitats being managed according to their natural value;
The Sixth Environmental Action Programme ‘Environment 2010: Our Future, Our Choice’ – A ten-year programme covering climate change, nature and wildlife, environment and health, and use of natural resources; and
Eco Management Audit Scheme – A scheme monitoring continuous environmental improvements in European countries.