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Biodiversity strategy for 2020

The European Union (EU) adopts a strategy to protect and improve the state of biodiversity in Europe for the next decade. This strategy identifies six targets which cover the main factors for biodiversity loss and which will reduce the greatest pressures on nature.

ACT

Communication from the Commission of 3 June 2011, entitled: “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020” [COM(2011) 244 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

SUMMARY

This strategy aims to halt the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystems in the European Union (EU) by 2020, by identifying six priority targets.. This strategy is an integral part of the Europe 2020 strategy, and, in particular, of the flagship initiative entitled “A resource-efficient Europe”.

Target 1: conserving and restoring nature

The EU must ensure better application of Directives “Birds” and “Habitats”. These two Directives constitute the backbone of EU biodiversity policy. They have achieved some good results so far, such as the creation of Natura 2000, the world’s largest network of protected areas, covering over 750 000 km2.. However, progress is still insufficient in terms of reaching a favourable conservation status of all habitats and species of European importance. In order to achieve the first target of this strategy, Member Sates must ensure better application of existing legislation. In particular, they must manage and restore the Natura 2000 sites by investing the necessary resources. These actions would contribute towards halting biodiversity loss and restoring biodiversity by 2020.

Target 2: maintaining and enhancing ecosystems and their services

The integration of a green infrastructure, restoring at least 15 % of the degraded ecosystems by 2020, and the development of an initiative aimed at preventing any net loss of ecosystems and their services by 2015, will be essential measures for maintaining and improving ecosystem services (for example the pollination of crops by bees).

Target 3: ensuring the sustainability of agriculture and forestry

The instruments provided under the CAP should contribute towards maximising areas under agriculture across grasslands, arable land, and permanent crops that are covered by biodiversity measures, by 2020.

Forest Management Plans or equivalent instruments will be put in place for all forests that are publicly owned and for forest holdings above a certain size, by 2020. The plans must ensure sustainable management of forests in order to receive funding under the EU’s Rural Development Policy.

Measures adopted to ensure sustainable management must also contribute towards achieving targets 1 and 2 of the strategy.

Target 4: ensuring sustainable use of fisheries resources

The measures adopted as part of the Common Fisheries Policy must enable the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) to be achieved by 2015. In order to achieve this, it is essential to achieve a population by age and by size distribution indicative of a healthy stock. Through fisheries management with no significant adverse impacts on other stocks, species and ecosystems, it will be possible to achieve Good Environmental Status by 2020, in accordance with the “Marine Strategy Framework-Directive”..

Target 5: combating invasive alien species

With the exception of the legislation on the use of alien and locally absent species in aquaculture, there is currently no comprehensive EU policy on combating invasive alien species. However, these species pose a significant threat to European biodiversity. It is therefore necessary to identify them, isolate or eradicate them, and to control their introduction in order to prevent the appearance of new species. To this end, the Commission will fill policy gaps in combating invasive alien species with a dedicated legislative instrument..

Target 6: addressing the global biodiversity crisis

The EU must step up its contribution to averting global biodiversity loss by meeting the commitments made at the 10th Conference of Parties (COP10) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, which took place in Nagoya in 2010. During this conference, the EU committed to:

  • achieving the goals set by the global strategic plan for biodiversity 2011-2020;
  • implementing the Nagoya protocol on access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their use (ABS Protocol); and
  • mobilising additional resources to finance the challenge of protecting biodiversity world-wide.

Context

The strategy responds to two major commitments made by EU officials in March 2010, namely halting biodiversity loss in the EU by 2020 and protecting, assessing and restoring biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU by 2050.

Last updated: 09.12.2011

See also

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