WWF EPO Annual Review 2015
From New York to Paris: the year of big promises
2015 was an extraordinary year along with many challenges, it saw the culmination of important international negotiations, and unprecedented civil engagement around the world on environmental issues.
I believe that 2015 will go down in history as the year in which the world came together to put us on a path towards sustainable development, and changed the tide on the fight against climate change.
The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda agreed in New York in September is universal and thus applicable both in developed and developing countries, including all EU member states. The 17 globally agreed Sustainable Development Goals present us with a unique opportunity to align the political agendas on development, economy and the environment, and an overarching EU strategy is required to achieve this.
Our fight against climate change is part and parcel of sustainable development. In Paris, a historic international climate agreement was signed, and not only did the 196 signatories reiterate their pledge to limit global temperature rise to 2C, but, to the surprise of many observers, they even committed to efforts to keep it under 1.5C. Now, the EU needs to do its homework and translate the Paris climate deal into concrete actions.
Despite these strong international signals, meaningful EU action is by no means guaranteed, and even existing environmental laws cannot be taken for granted. Instead, the focus of the Juncker Commission on competitiveness and better regulation continues, and with it our fight to stop the roll-back of environmental protection.
WWFs efforts to preserve Europes most precious natural areas received unprecedented public backing, with more than 520,000 people joining our NGOs Nature Alert campaign to save the EUs Nature Directives. This plea was echoed by 12 EU governments and all main political parties of the European Parliament. As the final decision on this is still outstanding, WWF will continue its campaign across Europe to ensure that the Nature Directives are saved and that increased political action is taken to deliver better nature conservation.
Lets not forget that as recently as 2013, all EU member states adopted their vision for 2050 - for us to live well, within the planets ecological limit. WWF shares this long-term vision, but reaching it requires urgent action today. The momentum built by last years game-changing global deals and civil society engagement must now be used to put the environment firmly back on a new political agenda that will make Europe a world leader for nature and people.
Foreword by Geneviève Pons
Director, WWF European Policy Office