MEPs vote in favour of EU leadership on biodiversity

Posted on December, 03 2019

The European Parliament's Environment Committee votes to bring Europe's nature back
Today, the European Parliament’s Environment Committee made its green voice heard by voting in favour of the EU taking a strong leadership position at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP 15 summit in 2020. This vote comes at a crucial time, just one year ahead of the COP 15 where a new global framework to protect and restore biodiversity will be agreed. 

The Environment Committee sent a clear message – the EU must lead the way in a global legally binding agreement to bend the curve of biodiversity loss by 2030. As part of this agreement, the Committee called for at least 30% of natural areas to be protected and 30% of degraded ecosystems to be restored at both EU and global level, in line with WWF’s asks.

The Environment Committee also strongly called on the European Commission to propose an ambitious EU 2030 Biodiversity Strategy by moving away from voluntary commitments to set legally-binding targets for the EU and the Member States.

Sabien Leemans, Senior Policy Officer for Biodiversity said: 
"Politicians are finally waking up to the nature crisis, without a moment to spare. Biodiversity needs a legally-binding lifeline to bring Europe’s nature back! This lifeline will not only be a saviour for biodiversity, but also a much needed helping hand to solve the climate crisis too.”

WWF will be closely following the European Parliament plenary vote in January 2020, which must confirm the Environment Committee’s strong stance to lead the way for a legally-binding agreement that puts our planet on the path to recovery.

Member States must also be equally ambitious when they discuss biodiversity at the Environment Council on 19 December.

Edel Shanahan
Junior Communications Officer, Biodiversity and Agriculture
+ 32 484 49 35 15

*Footnote: Important amendments adopted today
COMP D: move away from voluntary commitments and to propose an ambitious and inclusive Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 that sets legally binding targets for the EU and its Member States, including specific targets to conserve and protect natural areas and to restore degraded ecosystems by 2030 

COMP J: Calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote the definition of a new global goal to reverse the global biodiversity loss curve by 2030, to put nature on the path to regeneration for the benefit of all and the planet, and to contribute to the protection of biodiversity, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, the fight against desertification and land degradation, as well as food security; calls on the EU to push during the negotiations for an increased level of ambition and potentially call for having half the planet protected by 2050; is of the opinion that a clear global conservation objective for 2030 of at least 30% for natural areas and the objective of the restoration of at least 30% of degraded ecosystems that can be restored should be enshrined in the post-2020 framework and that the EU should set similar objectives domestically 
COMP L1:  set up a clear target for biodiversity mainstreaming of minimum 10% in the MFF that is additional to the spending on climate mainstreaming; emphasises also the need to establish a more transparent, comprehensive and stringent methodology for the tracking of biodiversity and climate expenditure; reiterates its calls to at least double the current funding of the LIFE Programme;
COMP R1:  calls on the Commission to include EU-wide binding reduction targets in the upcoming revision of EU Directive on Sustainable Use of Pesticides (2009/128/EC)
COMP S:  calls on the Commission to adopt a single unified definition of ‘deforestation-free’; Calls on the Commission to propose a comprehensive set of measures to reduce the EU consumption footprint on land, including legislation, based on due diligence, that ensures sustainable and deforestation-free supply chains for products placed on the EU market, as well as an EU action plan on palm oil; is of the opinion that EU action against deforestation should tackle its main drivers, such as palm oil, soy, beef and cocoa; asks the Commission to phase out as soon as possible high ILUC - risk biofuels used in Europe;
COMP V:  assessment and significant increase of EU coastal and marine protected areas and their governance is needed; calls for the extension of EU marine protected areas to include more offshore waters; stresses that besides the quantity also the quality of protected areas is essential to stop biodiversity loss and that therefore more emphasis needs to be placed on their good and sustainable management; Calls on the Commission to continue to take legal actions where it establishes that EU nature protection laws are not respected ; points out that procedures have to be more efficient in the field of environmental infringements due to the risk of irreversible damage to the environment; highlights that it is necessary to urgently ensure the proper enforcement of the Nature Directives and follow up on complaints about breaches of the legislation in a transparent way
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