Biodiversity and European Green Deal take centre stage at EP plenary week

Posted on 13 January 2020

This week, the European Parliament’s plenary session will have two crucial votes for climate and biodiversity.
On 15 January, the Parliament will vote on a resolution on the Commission’s communication on the European Green Deal from December 2019. This will be an opportunity for MEPs to echo the recognition of the environmental challenges the world is facing, and to push the Commission for high ambition in line with scientific evidence when preparing concrete legislative and policy proposals in key areas such as biodiversity, climate change and deforestation.

The following day, 16 January, the Parliament will vote on its resolution on the CBD COP 15 summit in October of this year. This vote is a key moment for the Parliament to show the von der Leyen Commission their support for nature protection and restoration as a top priority in the European Green Deal, alongside climate change, and for the EU to be a champion for nature protection and restoration both globally and in the EU.

What will WWF be looking out for?

Support for the European Green Deal:
Parliament must provide unequivocal support to the Commission’s intention to propose a meaningful European Green Deal package within the first 100 days of its mandate. In particular, MEPs should push for higher ambition through:
  • An ambitious climate law enshrining a 2040 climate neutrality target; and increase the EU’s 2030 emissions reduction target to 65% in early 2020;
  • A strong and binding target for halting biodiversity loss and restoring nature in Europe as part of the 2030 Biodiversity Strategy, along with a strategy for mobilising meaningful investment from both the public and the private sector;
  • A commitment for regulatory measures for deforestation outside of Europe way beyond the proposed “promotion” of deforestation-free products, which would be insufficient for effectively reducing the massive impact of European consumption on vulnerable ecosystems;
  • A commitment for ‘new money’ in the Sustainable Europe Investment Plan, rather than a mere repackaging of existing initiatives; 
  • More substance on ocean recovery and resilience to climate change is required, including concrete measures for more connected and well-managed marine protected areas.
  • Far-reaching reforms of the EU's agricultural, trade, transport, energy and infrastructure investment policies, as called for in the November 2019 European Parliament resolution declaring a climate and environmental emergency.
“Now is the time for MEPs to show that Ursula von der Leyen and her team have their full support on tackling the climate and nature emergencies, and to push the Commission to ensure its rhetorics are translated into meaningful, concrete and ambitious action,” said Ester Asin, Director of the European Policy Office. “The scientific recommendations can no longer be ignored: we need urgent and far-reaching transformational change, and the window for this is closing rapidly.”

Parliament votes for leadership at the CBD COP 15
WWF urges the European Parliament to adopt the ambitious resolution voted in the Environment Committee last December, calling the EU to lead the way to an ambitious agreement at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) COP15 and underlining the need for the EU’s global ambition to be consistent with its domestic action.

Here are some of the  important elements the resolution calls for:
  • The need for a global legally binding agreement to protect global biodiversity and for a strengthened implementation mechanism of the CBD. 
  • An ambitious EU 2030 Biodiversity Strategy, moving away from voluntary commitments and setting legally binding targets for the EU and the Member States.
  • A target for at least 30% of natural areas on land and sea to be protected and effectively managed and 30% of degraded ecosystems to be restored at both EU and global level.
  • An EU-wide legally binding target to restore degraded habitats by 2030, through restoration of natural forests, peatlands, floodplains, wetlands, biodiversity rich grasslands, coastal zones and marine areas.
“With the European Commission expected to announce the 2030 Biodiversity Strategy at the end of February, this resolution is a key moment for the European Parliament to let its green voice be heard. MEPs must give a clear signal to the Commission in support of ambitious and legally binding targets to bring nature back. 2020 is the year for biodiversity, and it has never been more urgent,” said Sabien Leemans, Senior Policy Officer for Biodiversity at the WWF European Policy Office.


On European Green Deal:
Angelika Pullen
Director of Communications

On CBD and Biodiversity Strategy
Edel Shanahan
Communications Officer, Biodiversity and Agriculture
CBD COP 15 logo
© Convention on Biological Diversity