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International Partnerships

Biodiversity: International experts propose eight actionable priorities for biodiversity programming

News 16 June 2021 Brussels

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A high-level group of 13 international scientists and practitioners has proposed today eight recommendations on how the EU and its partners can address the biodiversity and climate crises, whilst ensuring green growth for people around the world. Presented at the closing ceremony of the European Development Days, the recommendations provide input for the Global Biodiversity Framework to be adopted at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15), to take place in Kunming later this year.

At the 2021 European Development Days, Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen said: “These recommendations will help shape the political debate ahead of COP 15. They also highlight the links between the biodiversity and climate crises at a moment when the Union defines its programming priorities for the years to come.

The recommendations cover four thematic domains: conservation of critical ecosystems, restoration of degraded land, safe and sustainable food systems, and legal, safe and sustainable wildlife use. The experts also examined four crosscutting themes: knowledge gap, international governance, indigenous peoples and local communities, and sustainable green finance. The health and climate change dimensions are integrated into each of the eight sections.

Conservation of critical ecosystems

The high-level group recommends for example protecting 30% of land and sea areas, and reducing tropical deforestation and degradation by 75% by 2025 and nearly 100% by 2030.

Restoration of degraded land

The high-level group proposes a target of 300 million hectares to be restored by 2030, generating an estimated EUR 8 trillion in ecosystem services and removing up to 26 gigatons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

Safe and sustainable food systems

The high-level group calls on the EU to continue helping smallholder farmers and fishers in Africa and around the world improve the productivity, sustainability and resilience of food systems, supporting efforts towards implementing agro-ecological and regenerative agriculture approaches on 30% to 50% of agricultural lands.

Legal, safe and sustainable wildlife use

Because the legal, sustainable and safe use and consumption of wildlife and the fight against wildlife trafficking are critical to stop biodiversity loss, reduce the spillover of pathogens and emergence of zoonotic infectious diseases, the high-level group underlines the need for a strong enforcement of regulations on wildlife crime and monitoring of wildlife.

Knowledge and capacity building

The high-level group asks the EU to support substantial programmes to fill the implementation knowledge gap along with a specific attention to interactions between biodiversity and health (One Health), in particular around pandemics and nutrition issues.

Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs)

The high-level group recommends that all actions to restore and conserve biodiversity closely involve indigenous peoples and local communities, who already manage 35% of remaining intact forests, often highly effectively.

Multilateral environmental agreements and governance

The high-level group calls on the EU to support its partners to implement biodiversity-relevant multilateral environmental agreements and improve coherence of biodiversity-related policies at national level.

Financing the green and greening finance

The high-level group makes proposals on how the EU should promote green investments for biodiversity. It encourages the EU to integrate biodiversity in its wider efforts to set up a financial system that supports global sustainable growth.

Next steps

These recommendations will feed into ongoing negotiations for a future Global Biodiversity framework and steer the implementation of future EU cooperation with partner countries.

Background information

For more than 35 years, the European Union has supported partner countries to protect biodiversity and sustainably manage their natural resources. Programmes such as ECOFAC (link) in Central Africa or the EU FLEGT action plan (link) are examples of EU action in this field. In total, about 50 million hectares of natural ecosystems are protected with EU support. The EU also supports the fight against wildlife trafficking. In 2014-2020, the EU spent EUR 2.839 billion on biodiversity protection, corresponding to 5.1% of total commitments.

The EU’s biodiversity strategy for 2030 is an ambitious plan to protect nature and reverse the degradation of ecosystems. At global level, the EU will continue to work towards the adoption of an ambitious global biodiversity framework under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The President of the European Commission has joined 88 other global leaders to endorse the Leaders Pledge for Nature.

For More Information

The full list of recommendations can be found here.

Infographic - Eight actionable priorities for biodiversity programming.

More information about EDD in general can be found here.