Last month, the European Commission revealed new legislation designed to protect and restore Europe’s ecosystems. The first-of-its kind proposal sets an ambitious target to repair 80% of European habitats – from forest, marine and freshwater ecosystems to urban and agricultural land – and to bring nature back to all ecosystems. The proposal for a Nature Restoration Law, which would set legally binding targets for nature restoration, will build on work that is already being done to restore nature, such as the large-scale efforts that cities are carrying out as part of the Green City Accord. The Commission aims to restore 20% of ecosystems by 2030, in line with cities’ delivery of their Green City Accord commitments.
As part of the Green City Accord community, cities are already revolutionising approaches to protect and restore nature – one of the five priority areas of the Accord – and to combat worrying developments, including the erosion of soil, loss of bee colonies, use of harmful pesticides, and more.
Signatory cities are demonstrating their commitment through concrete actions. For instance, Tallinn (Estonia) is in the midst of building a ‘Pollinator Highway’ to enable pollinators, such as butterflies and honeybees, to move from one green area to the next. Tallinn has also significantly reduced the amount of pesticides used to keep its roadsides free of weeds. Meanwhile, signatory Lappeenranta (Finland) has constructed seven storm-water wetlands to act as natural filters and protect the waters of Lake Pien-Saimaa. Finally, Madrid’s (Spain) urban butterfly monitoring scheme is using citizen-science to gather information on butterfly species in the city centre.
Decisive action must be taken to restore and protect nature across Europe. The new Nature Restoration Law will mandate Member States participation in this endeavour; an endeavour that Green City Accord signatories are already tackling as part of their commitment to a cleaner, greener and healthier world.
- 18 Juli 2022
- Generaldirektoratet for Miljø