The European Commission has launched an online public consultation on the development of legally binding EU nature restoration targets.
As a key element of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the European Green Deal, restoring Europe’s damaged ecosystems will help to increase biodiversity, mitigate and adapt to climate change, and prevent and reduce the impacts of natural disasters. The Commission will put forward a proposal for legally binding EU nature restoration targets by the end of 2021.
Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius said:
Human activities have significantly altered three quarters of the Earth’s lands and two thirds of oceans in recent decades, destabilising our climate and our natural life support systems. Restoring natural ecosystems is a triple win for nature, climate and people. It will help solve the biodiversity crisis, tackle climate change and reduce the risks of future pandemics. It can also stimulate recovery in a post-pandemic world, creating jobs and sustainable growth.
The European Commission is preparing an impact assessment to support the development of EU nature restoration targets, and to assess their potential environmental, social and economic impacts. Public and stakeholder views and insights will contribute to the impact assessment.
The first step in the legislative process – roadmap for the development of EU nature restoration targets– mapped out policy options for restoration targets to be explored in the impact assessment, including:
- A baseline scenario covering the implementation of existing EU biodiversity policies and legislation,
- A range of non-binding measures to support restoration activities, such as the provision of further guidance, financing and governance mechanisms,
- Legally binding targets for ecosystem restoration, building on legislation that is already in place and/or addressing ecosystems, habitats and species that are not covered by existing legislation (such as pollinators or soils).
The Commission is also consulting on two other biodiversity policy initiatives: the evaluation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 (2011-2020), and the review of the application of the EU Regulation on Invasive Alien Species.
Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 set the EU biodiversity policy framework for the period 2011-2020. This Strategy is currently undergoing an evaluation, looking into its effectiveness, efficiency, coherence with other policies, relevance and EU added value.
The EU Regulation on Invasive Alien Species was adopted in implementation of Target 5 of the 2020 Biodiversity Strategy. The review of its application will provide insights for improving its implementation, as well as for the evaluation of Target 5.
Lessons learnt from the evaluation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 will be considered in the implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, in order to improve the design and delivery of key actions – including the proposal for binding EU restoration targets.
The consultation aims to obtain stakeholder input, evidence and views in order to inform the three biodiversity policy initiatives. It will remain open for feedback for 12 weeks until 2 April.
Biodiversity – the variety of life on Earth – is essential for human wellbeing, socio-economic development and for mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change. However, biodiversity in the EU is under immense pressure from human-driven land- and sea use changes, the overexploitation of biological resources, pollution, natural and man-made disaster risks, climate change and the spread of invasive alien species. The decline of biodiversity is reducing the capacity of Europe’s ecosystems to continue providing for human needs, and to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Many ecosystems can be restored by reducing ongoing pressures (such as pollution or the over-exploitation of resources) or by active restoration measures such as the reintroduction of native species. Restoration approaches need to ensure long-term results and take into account that future restored ecosystems should be climate resilient.
In May 2020, the Commission published a Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, with the aim to put EU biodiversity on the path to recovery by 2030. One of its core commitments is to propose, by the end of 2021, a legally binding instrument setting EU targets to restore damaged ecosystems by 2030.
- Publication date
- 11 January 2021
- Directorate-General for Environment