Commission announces plan to halt biodiversity crisis
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New legislation tackling invasive biological species and a target to ensure the implementation of existing EU Directives form part of the new European strategy to protect native ecosystems.
The European Commission has this week outlined how it plans to achieve its target to halting biodiversity loss in Europe by 2020 and meets its obligations under the 2010 Nagoya Protocol, which covers access to natural resources.
The strategy, “Our life insurance, our capital”, outlines a series of actions that encourage the development of green infrastructure, ensure greater sustainability in agriculture, forestry and fishing and tighter control of alien species.
In the plan the EC pledges to “halt the deterioration in the status of all species and habitats covered by EU nature legislation” by ensuring it is fully implemented and achieve an improved conservation status of habitat and species assessments under the Habitats and Birds Directives.
It also states that biodiversity monitoring and reporting will be further integrated into EU legislation on nature, the Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy.
By 2014, member states will have to assess their ecosystems and associated services and develop a strategic framework to set priorities for ecosystem restoration.
The Commission also states that it will begin work on a new legislative instrument to tackle invasive alien species by 2012 and will be proposing legislation to implement the Nagoya Protocol as soon as possible, to enable ratification by 2015.
"Biodiversity is our natural capital that we are spending too fast – and we all know what happens when we borrow beyond our means,” said Janez Potočnik, European commissioner for the Environment when publishing the new strategy.
“We should all be aware of the severity of this situation and our past failures to address the problem. The time has come to step up our efforts enormously. I am confident this new multi-sectoral approach will put us on track to halt biodiversity loss by 2020."
A quarter of all European species are currently under threat of extinction and, despite EU biodiversity targets set in 2001, just 17% of habitats and species and 11% of ecosystems protected under EU legislation are in a favourable state.
The strategy was published as the People’s Trust for Endangered Species revealed that 45% of the UK’s orchards were in a poor condition.
Peter Brotherton, head of biodiversity for government agency Natural England, said: "Traditional orchards can be biodiversity hot spots, but without proper protection and sensitive management, they can easily slip into decline."
Read the EC’s strategy to tackle biodiversity loss in full on the EC website.
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