WWF and over 150 NGOs call for ambitious 2030 targets in upcoming EU nature restoration law

Posted on 14 December 2021

We need to restore at least 15% of the EU’s land area, river length and sea area already by 2030
On 14 December, over 150 environmental NGOs, including WWF, sent a letter to the European Commission’s Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans and the Environment Commissioner Viginijus Sinkevičius raising concerns about the overall ambition of the EU nature restoration law, which is in the final stages of preparation by the European Commission [1].
Sabien Leemans, Senior Biodiversity Policy Officer at WWF European Policy Office, said:
“Europe’s nature is rapidly deteriorating and climate change is only making things worse. To bend the curve of nature loss, protecting remaining natural places in Europe, while key, will not be sufficient. Large-scale nature restoration needs to become a legal requirement for all EU Member States – and we need to make great strides already by 2030. The upcoming EU restoration law can be a hat-trick of wins for our climate, our biodiversity, and for people, but we need the Commission’s proposal to be truly ambitious. We cannot afford to squander this opportunity.”
Given the scale and urgency of the climate and biodiversity crises, the NGOs are strongly convinced that clear measurable targets for land area, river length and sea area are the key elements to make this legislation as ambitious, adequate and effective as possible. Just as with the EU climate law, an overarching, robust and understandable EU headline target, alongside individual ecosystems’ (and species’) specific targets, is indispensable for mobilising Member States’ action at the required scale. Additionally, it can facilitate the monitoring of individual Member States’ contributions, thus ensuring the timely achievement of the EU-wide targets.

The NGOs are calling for the law to include a 2030 target of restoring at least 15% of the EU’s land area, river length and sea area, to which all underlying ecosystem specific targets should contribute. This would mean restoration of 650,000 km2 of land, 1,000,000 km2 of marine EU area and 178,000 km of rivers.

For more information:

Sabien Leemans
Senior Biodiversity Policy Officer

Bartosz Brzezinski
Communications Officer for Biodiversity & Agriculture
Tel. +32 484 28 15 10

Note to editors:

[1] Initially expected at the end of 2021, the Commission's proposal for the EU nature restoration law has been postponed to 23 March 2022
Over 150 NGOs have asked the European Commission to include ambitious 2030 targets in the upcoming EU nature restoration law