How to preserve biodiversity: EU policy (video)

Source: European Parliament (EP) i, published on Monday, October 30 2023.

Access to video: Biodiversity: bringing nature back

In order to preserve endangered species and human life, the EU wants to improve and preserve biodiversity on the continent. Learn how in our video.

The European Commission presented the new 2030 Biodiversity Strategy in May 2020, following calls from the Parliament in January 2020 to address the main drivers of biodiversity loss and set legally binding targets.

During the plenary session in June 2021, Parliament adopted its position on the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030: bringing nature back into our lives, insisting that its implementation be consistent with other European Green Deal strategies, including the Farm to Fork one.

Find out more about the importance of biodiversity

The EU's 2030 Biodiversity Strategy: what’s in it?

Setting EU biodiversity targets

Under the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030, the EU has set itself new targets for the next decade.

MEPs strongly supported the EU targets of protecting at least 30% of the EU’s marine and terrestrial areas (forests, wetlands, peatlands, grasslands and coastal ecosystems) and that 10% of the EU’s oceans and land - including all remaining primary and old-growth forests and other carbon-rich ecosystems - should be left essentially undisturbed.

They want the targets to be binding and implemented by EU countries at national level, in cooperation with regional and local authorities.

Restoring nature

Parliament also welcomed a proposal for binding targets on nature restoration, calling for a minimum target of at least 30% of the EU’s land and seas.

Tackling the decline of pollinators

MEPs stressed that the decline of pollinators is not only bad for biodiversity but is also a threat to food security and called for an urgent revision of the EU Pollinators Initiative. The revised initiative should include a new EU-wide pollinator monitoring framework with robust measures, clear time-bound objectives and indicators, including impact indicators, and necessary capacity building.

Taking advantage of green urban areas

Green urban areas can support biodiversity and contribute to the physical and mental well-being of the population, according to the report.

MEPs support the establishment of an EU platform for urban greening and call on the Commission to set specific ambitious binding targets on urban biodiversity, including:

  • a minimum share of green roofs on new buildings
  • supporting urban farming
  • ensuring no chemical pesticides are used
  • reducing fertiliser use in EU urban green areas

Reducing the impact of agriculture

MEPs also welcomed the 2030 targets of bringing at least 25% of agricultural land under organic farm management, which should increase in the medium to long term.

They agreed with the Commission’s targets of reducing:

  • the use of more hazardous and chemical pesticides by 50%
  • the use of fertilisers by at least 20%
  • nutrient losses by at least 50% by 2030

What has been done to safeguard endangered species and biodiversity in Europe?

Until now, EU efforts to improve biodiversity were ongoing under the 2020 Biodiversity Strategy, which was introduced in 2010:

  • The Birds Directive aims to protect all 500 wild bird species naturally occurring in the EU
  • The Habitats Directive ensures the conservation of a wide range of rare, threatened or endemic animal and plant species, including some 200 rare and characteristic habitat types
  • Natura 2000 is the largest network of protected areas in the world, with core breeding and resting sites for rare and threatened species and rare natural habitat types
  • The EU Pollinator’s Initiative aims to address the decline of pollinators in the EU and contribute to global conservation efforts, focusing on improving knowledge of the decline, tackling the causes and raising awareness

Additionally, the European Life programme, which will continue funding projects to improve biodiversity, brought for example the Iberian Lynx and the Bulgarian lesser kestrel back from near extinction.

Find out facts and figures about endangered species in Europe

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