ENVI MEPs stand up for forests in bid for strong EU nature restoration law and targets

Posted on 27 May 2021

Ahead of the June plenary, Environment Committee MEPs adopted amendments that raise the Parliament’s ambitions on the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the anticipated EU nature restoration law.

The European Parliament’s Environment Committee sent a strong signal today to scale up nature protection and restoration in the EU. In their vote on the amendments to the Parliament’s draft own-initiative report on the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, the MEPs supported ambitious legally binding nature restoration, calling for a restoration target of at least 30% of the EU land and seas. They also called for the protected area targets to be legally binding, including the strict protection of all remaining old-growth and primary forests.


Despite last-minute pressure to lower the ambition on the restoration and protection of forests, the MEPs adopted all the compromise amendments that aim to strengthen the Parliament’s own-initiative report. These include an important call to revise the EU rules on the use of biomass for energy production to align them with the objectives of the Biodiversity Strategy and the Climate law, and a call to incorporate guidelines on close-to-nature forestry into the implementation of sustainable forest management. The Committee will hold its final vote on the full report tomorrow. 


Sabien Leemans, Senior Policy Officer for Biodiversity at the WWF European Policy Office, said:


“Nature in the EU can breathe a sigh of relief. MEPs from the ENVI committee have sent an unequivocal message: we need to make large-scale nature restoration a legal requirement for all Member States if we are to turn the tide of biodiversity loss and avoid the worst impacts of ecosystem degradation. The MEPs upped the ante by refusing to bow to pressure from vested interest groups that seek to keep old-growth and primary forests - a key part of the fight against climate change - from being protected and restored under EU legislation.”


WWF will be closely following the European Parliament’s plenary vote on 8 June, which needs to affirm the Environment Committee’s strong stance, setting the scene for the European Commission’s proposal on an EU nature restoration law, expected in December.

For further information:

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

MEPs called for protected area targets to be legally binding, including the strict protection of all remaining old-growth and primary forests.
© Tomasz Wilk