Biodiversity | WWF
© Wild Wonders of Europe /Konrad Wothe / WWF

Biodiversity

Despite world-leading nature laws, European biodiversity continues to plummet.
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 changers 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.

At the core of the EU’s biodiversity policy are the EU Birds and Habitats Directives which underpin 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.

'There's no more time to lose – we need to bring Europe’s nature back! The EU must put forward a legally binding restoration initiative to benefit people, nature and the climate.'

Sabien Leemans
Senior Policy Officer, Biodiversity
@SabienLeemans

© Fritz Pölking / WWF

What WWF is doing

WWF is committed to protecting all of Europe’s unique wildlife and biodiversity, in particular in WWF European priority regions, the Mediterranean and the Greater Black Sea Basin. We work to ensure that the EU and its Member States:
 
  • Fully implement the Birds and Habitats Directives and support the required financing;
  • Effectively enforce existing EU laws on nature protection;
  • Properly and consistently integrate biodiversity protection into key economic sectors through its agriculture, water, infrastructure and development, and climate and energy policies;
  • Improve green connectivity throughout the EU.

Now that the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2030 is released, WWF will work to ensure the European Parliament and the European Council support the objectives of the strategy and its implementation. along with sufficient financial support. WWF is also advocating for a strong EU leadership position at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity COP in 2021 to lead the way in a New Deal for Nature and People to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030.

Contacts

Sabien Leemans
Senior Biodiversity Policy Officer
+32 486 80 04 37
@SabienLeemans

Edel Shanahan
Junior Communications Officer,
Biodiversity and Agriculture
+32 473 94 79 66
@edel_shanahan

Our latest biodiversity news
Our latest report

© Shutterstock / Alex Post / WWF

Preventing Paper Parks: How to make the EU nature laws work

The WWF Preventing Paper Parks report shows EU protected areas at risk due to lack of proper implementation of EU nature laws, series of wrongdoings by member states, and legal actions started by the Commission. It also illustrates the importance of nature protection and sustainable development going hand in hand.

WWF calls on the European Commission and Member States to step up their efforts by addressing the following priorities:

  • Complete the designation of marine Natura 2000 sites;

  • Develop conservation measures and management plans for all Natura 2000 sites;

  • Increase investment in Natura 2000;

  • Strengthen enforcement across Europe.