ursula von der leyen
Making nature healthy again is key to our physical and mental wellbeing and is an ally in the fight against climate change and disease outbreaks. It is at the heart of our growth strategy, the European Green Deal, and is part of a European recovery that gives more back to the planet than it takes away.”

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

  • Globe and a heart

    Climate change, the unprecedented loss of biodiversity, and the spread of devastating pandemics are sending a clear message: it is time to fix our broken relationship with nature.

  • Trees

    The Biodiversity Strategy will put Europe’s biodiversity on the path to recovery by 2030, for the benefit of people, climate and the planet. 

Why do we need to protect biodiversity?

bee pollinating

Biodiversity is essential for life. Our planet and the economy depend on it. When nature is healthy, it protects and provides. 

Biodiversity and ecosystems provide us with food, health and medicines, materials, recreation, and wellbeing. They filter our air and water, help keep the climate in balance, convert waste back into resources, pollinate and fertilise crops and much more. 

Nature provides for businesses: half of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), €40 trillion, depends on nature. 

Elephants

We are losing nature like never before because of unsustainable human activities. 

The global population of wild species has fallen by 60% over the last 40 years. 1 million species are at risk of extinction.

Garden

Biodiversity loss and the climate crisis are interdependent and they exacerbate each other. 

Restoring forests, soils and wetlands and creating green spaces in cities is
essential to achieve the climate change mitigation needed by 2030.

The new EU-wide Biodiversity Strategy will:

  • establish protected areas for at least:

  • Field

    30% of land in Europe

  • sea

    30% of sea in Europe

  • Ecosystem icon

    with stricter protection of remaining EU primary and old-growth forests legally binding nature restoration targets in 2021.

  • restore degraded ecosystems at land and sea across the whole of Europe by:

  • Ladybug on a plant

    increasing organic farming and biodiversity-rich landscape features on agricultural land.

  • Bee on a sunflower

    halting and reversing the decline of pollinators

  • Harvesting

    reducing the use and risk of pesticides by 50% by 2030

  • River

    restoring at least  25 000 km of EU rivers to a free-flowing state

  • Forest

    planting 3 billion trees by 2030

  • unlock €20 billion per year for biodiversity through various sources, including EU funds and national and private funding. Natural capital and biodiversity considerations will be integrated into business practices
  • put the EU in a leading position in the world in addressing the global biodiversity crisis. The Commission will mobilise all tools of external action and international partnerships for an ambitious new UN Global Biodiversity Framework at the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2021.

The business case for biodiversity

recovery icon More than half of global GDP - some €40 trillion - depends on nature

Nature restoration will be a central element of the EU’s recovery plan from the coronavirus pandemic, providing immediate business and investment opportunities for restoring the EU’s economy.

3 key economic sectors:

  • construction 
  • agriculture
  • food and drink

These sectors are all highly dependent on nature, and they generate more than €7 trillion

The benefits of biodiversity conservation for the economy are multifold:

  • conserving marine stocks could increase annual profits of the seafood industry by more than €49 billion 
  • protecting coastal wetlands could save the insurance industry around €50 billion annually through reducing flood damage losses 
  • six industries: chemicals and materials; aviation, travel and tourism; real estate; mining and metals; supply chain and transport; retail, consumer goods and lifestyle – depend through their supply chain on nature for more than 50% for their gross value added
  • benefits of the EU Natura 2000 nature protection network are valued at between €200-300 billion per year.

The economic and social costs of inaction include:

  • biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse is one of the biggest threats facing humanity in the next decade
  • economic and social costs of inaction would be huge. The world already lost an estimated €3.5-18.5 trillion per year in ecosystem services from 1997 to 2011, and an estimated €5.5-10.5 trillion per year from land degradation. Biodiversity underpins EU and global food security.  Biodiversity loss risks puts our food systems and nutrition at risk
  • biodiversity loss is intrinsically linked to and exacerbates climate change
  • biodiversity loss results in reduced crop yields and fish catches, increased economic losses from flooding and other disasters, and the loss of potential new sources of medicine
  • biodiversity loss results in reduced crop yields and fish catches, increased economic losses from flooding and other disasters, and the loss of potential new sources of medicine
  • more than 75% of global food crop types rely on animal pollination
  • on average, global mean crop yields of rice, maize and wheat are projected to decrease between 3% and 10% per degree of warming above historical levels.

Creating jobs

nature restoration icon Nature restoration means direct and indirect local jobs that bring life back to local communities..
protection icon The Natura 2000 network has been estimated to support 104,000 direct jobs in protected areas management and conservation activities and 70,000 more indirect or induced jobs. This is based on annual investment of €6 billion for management and restoration of the network. In the future, it is expected that biodiversity needs could generate up to 500,000 jobs.
icon For agriculture, 1.3 million of the 9.6 million farming jobs in the EU are linked directly or indirectly to Natura 2000. The tourism sector employs 12 million people in Europe. Of these, 3.1 million have links to protected areas such as Natura 2000. 
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Of the 25% of the EU budget dedicated to climate action,  a significant proportion will be invested in biodiversity and nature-based solutions. 

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