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EC Communication - post 2010 Biodiversity
The Commission has just published its Communication called "Options for an EU vision and target for biodiversity beyond 2010". The full Communication text is available in English, French and German via the following link: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/biodiversity/policy/index_en.htm
Although the Communication is a ‘first step’, the aim is to facilitate debate throughout 2010, which will culminate with the Commission presenting an EU biodiversity strategy by the end of the year. As such, this is an important document, highly relevant to Eurosite’s members, which provides insight to the Commission’s priorities for biodiversity in the coming years.
In the Communication, the Commission proposes four options with different levels of ambition for development of a post-2010 EU vision and target for biodiversity – these are:
Option 1: Significantly reducing the rate of loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU by 2020.
Option 2: Halting the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU by 2020.
Option 3: Halting the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU by 2020 and restoring them as far as possible.
Option 4: Halting the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU by 2020 and restoring them as far as possible, and stepping up the EU's contribution to averting global biodiversity loss.
The Communication and the options will be discussed by the Environment Council in March and later by Heads of States, who should adopt an EU target and the position for CBD COP 10 in Nagoya, Japan.
The Communication also sets out several related issues of particular interest for Eurosite’s members in the coming years – the following factors to be addressed in the post 2010 biodiversity policy era are worth highlighting:
Implementation gaps in the establishment of the Natura 2000 network, set to be completed on land in 2010 and at sea in 2012;
Policy gaps including, in particular -
Minimising the environmental impacts of infrastructure development and spatial planning through the development of and investment in ‘green infrastructures’ - this approach would call for the restoration of ecosystems (so far as possible) to strengthen their resilience and sustain the key services they provide. The Commission is to promote and support exchanges of best practice as a basis for an EU strategy on green infrastructure to be developed after 2010;
In June 2010, the European Environment Agency (EEA) will finalise the first EU biodiversity baseline, launch a Biodiversity Information System for Europe (BISE) and produce a strategic plan to fill current knowledge and data gaps – in particular, priority will be attached to indicators for ecosystems and ecosystem service. Also, through the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, better assessment and monitoring of changes in coastal and marine ecosystems, including those resulting from climate change and impacts on biodiversity, are highlighted;
Improving the integration of biodiversity concerns into other policies – this includes, for example, producing a reformed ecologically sustainable common fisheries policy by 2012, strengthening rural development policy with a view to developing ecosystem services by preserving and enhancing farming and forestry with a high nature value in the context of CAP, and optimising use of the Structural Funds as a way to enhance co-financing mechanisms to promote biodiversity objectives across Europe;
Increasing awareness about the implications of biodiversity loss and the economic benefits from healthy ecosystems;
Proper assessment of funding needs for biodiversity in the EU, taking into account the welfare benefits that ecosystems deliver – for Natura 2000, for example, Member States could more systematically use possibilities offered under rural development funding.