Biodiversity 2030: your say, our future

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Tue 20, October 2020
14:30 - 16:00 CET
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The COVID-19 pandemic showed us that direct and indirect human-induced biodiversity loss and degrading ecosystem services destroy the system that supports human life. The more biodiverse an ecosystem is, the more difficult it is for a pathogen to spread rapidly or dominate. Loss of biodiversity provides an opportunity for pathogens to pass between animals and people. 

Investing in biodiversity protection and conservation is, therefore, a strategic investment both in the long-term as a preventive measure to feature pandemics and epidemics; but also in the short-term as a socio-economic recovery measure. 

This session shares the successful EU cities and regions already committed to halting biodiversity loss and ecosystem services degradation, especially after COVID-19. It is also an invitation to hear from EU cities and regions on their long-term goals and vision for 2030 on biodiversity.

The agenda is available at this link.

Julia Ježina, YEP & Deputy Mayor, Murter Kornati, Croatia.
Roby Biwer, Member of Bettembourg Municipal Council, Member of the European Committee of the Regions, Luxembourg.
Raffaele Cattaneo, Minister for the Environment and Climate, Lombardy region, Italy.
Juan Espadas Cejas, Alcalde, Ayuntamiento de Sevilla, Spain.
Alba GORDÓ, City councillor, Sant Cugat del Vallès, Spain.
Aino KULONEN, Environmental coordinator, Lahti, Finland.
Stefan LEINER, Head of Unit, Biodiversity Unit, DG ENV, European Commission, Belgium.
Harriet TIEMENS, Vice-Mayor, City of Nijmegen, Netherlands.
Green Europe
European Committee of the Regions - ENVE Commission, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, Regions4 Sustainable Development
English (EN), Español (ES)

Session summary

The session shared the successful stories of EU cities and regions, such as Seville (ES), Murter-Kornati (HR), Nijmegen (NL), Lombardy (IT), Bettembourg (LU), Sant Cugat del Vallès (ES) and Lahti (FI) in halting biodiversity loss and ecosystems' degradation. Some of the experiences shared included increased public awareness of the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services, the necessity of greener urban areas as well as the importance of generating financial changes to promote local and subnational action, including long-term investments to prevent future pandemics.

Under the new EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, how will these cities and regions look like in ten years' time? What are the initiatives and policies that these cities and regions will implement to protect and restore nature and biodiversity? How are they going to look like in 2030? These are just some of the questions that started the debate among speakers, who reflected on their long-term goals and vision to protect and restore biodiversity and nature. 

During the event 62% of the audience felt that there was a lack of green areas and green spaces near their home, where many of them where teleworking during the initial months of the pandemic. It comes therefore as no surprise that many of the commitments for the next decade by local and regional politicians are about increasing the number of such areas, especially by tree planting and improving the access and quality of urban green areas.

Full video of the event: https://euregionsweek2020-video.eu/video/biodiversity-2030-your-say-our-future 

Pictures of the event: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmRCHr3H 

Take away message

1) EU cities and regions are already committed to halting biodiversity loss and ecosystems degradation but more action is needed in the next decade;

2) The EU institutions are cooperating more than ever to accelerate the conservation and protection of nature and biodiversity in cities and regions (EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, CoR Opinion on biodiversity);

3) All subnational governments, gathered under the Edinburgh Declaration, are advocating for a greater inclusion of subnational governments, cities and local authorities within the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

Juan Espadas Cejas, Chair of ENVE commission, CoR & Mayor of Sevilla (Spain): "I am confident that the EU Green Deal and the possibility of having funds for economic recovery in our territories will be invested more in green areas in order to have a greater capacity for resilience when adapting to climatic events in the coming years"

Stefan Leiner, Head of Unit, Biodiversity Unit, DG Environment, European Commission: "We have 10-20 years left to turn the tide and stop biodiversity loss"

Harriet Tiemens, Vice-Mayor, city of Nijmegen (The Netherlands): "protecting nature and biodiversity is a key step to ensure a sustainable future and tackle climate change".

Raffaele Cattaneo, Minister for the Environment and Climate, Lombardy (Italy): "The role of regions is crucial in halting biodiversity loss, not only because we already play a key role in conserving and restoring, but because we are the best actors to scale-up action to truly have an impact".

Roby Biwer, Rapporteur on biodiversity at the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) & Bettembourg city councillor (Luxembourg): "Action goes beyond local level. Action is also needed at European and global levels".

Alba Gordó, YEP CoR & Sant Cugat del Vallès city councillor (Spain):"We are rethinking San Cugat in a more sustainable way, adapting to climate change and reintegrating (organic) agriculture in urban areas".

Aino Kulonen, Environmental coordinator, Lahti (Finland) - European Green Capital 2021:"Lathi is green, not only for its values, but also geographically, thanks to large forests and green areas that we will protect and restore even further".

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