Biodiversity is fundamental to both planet and people. It provides us with clean air and water, food and medicines. But biodiversity is in crisis. Only 23% of species and 16% of habitats under the EU Nature Directives are in good health.
Habitat loss and fragmentation, unsustainable agriculture and climate change are leading drivers of biodiversity loss in the EU. In May 2020, the European Commission released the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2030.
This strategy, along with the EU Farm to Fork Strategy, is a potential game changer for EU nature, food and farming policies.
The strategies propose a new wave of essential and long overdue targets on topics such as protected areas, restoration of nature, organic farming and the reduction of agricultural chemicals.
Tthe EU Birds and Habitats Directives
are the cornerstones of EU biodiversity policy, underpinning the world’s first and largest international network of protected areas, Natura 2000. It covers about 18% of the EU's land and over 9% of its seas.
But Europe’s ecosystems are rapidly deteriorating and climate change is only making things worse. To bend the curve of nature loss, protecting remaining natural places, while key, will not be sufficient – large-scale nature restoration needs to become a legal requirement for all EU Member States.
A key piece of legislation to achieve this is the EU Nature Restoration Law
. As the first European-wide law to set legally-binding nature restoration targets, it provides a historic opportunity to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises simultaneously. The final shape of this law is currently being negotiated by the EU institutions.
WWF has been advocating for an ambitious law for many years, most recently with our #RestoreNature campaign. Despite unprecedented attacks by conservative and right-wing politicians and vested interests, this law is now within reach. Our fight continues!
On the other hand, the EU's role in protecting biodiversity does not stop at its borders - it is also one of the biggest importers of wildlife species and wildlife-derived commodities in the world, some of which are illegally imported and traded within the Union, with devastating impact on the environment, but also security, governance, the economy, and ultimately human lives. WWF, therefore, works on strengthening the EU and Member States’ response to wildlife crime