The mid-term review assessing progress under the EU biodiversity strategy shows that the 2020 biodiversity targets can only be reached if implementation and enforcement efforts become considerably bolder and more ambitious. At the current rate of implementation, biodiversity loss and the degradation of ecosystem services will continue throughout the EU and globally, with significant implications for the capacity of biodiversity to meet human needs in the future.
Progress has been made in establishing important policy frameworks: the new common fisheries policy, the Invasive Alien Species and Timber Regulations, and the introduction of biodiversity provisions in bilateral trade agreements, to name just a few. The reformed common agricultural policy provides opportunities for enhanced integration of biodiversity concerns but the extent of take-up by Member States will be decisive for success. The Commission has supported and complemented efforts made by Member States, regional and local authorities and stakeholders in enforcing environmental legislation, addressing policy gaps, providing guidelines, funding, promoting partnerships and fostering research and the exchange of best practice. There is a wealth of positive experience that can be a model for advancing towards the EU biodiversity targets in the remaining period until 2020.
It is now urgent to intensify the implementation of measures across all targets and to ensure that the principles included in the policy frameworks are fully reflected on the ground. Achieving the 2020 biodiversity objectives will require strong partnerships and the full engagement and efforts from key actors at all levels, in particular with respect to completing the Natura 2000 network for the marine environment, ensuring effective management of Natura 2000 sites and implementing the Invasive Alien Species Regulation, and considering the most suitable approach for recognizing our natural capital throughout the EU.
Achieving this target will also require more effective integration with a wide range of policies, by setting coherent priorities underpinned by adequate funding — in particular in the sectors of agriculture and forestry which together account for 80% of land use in the EU, as well as marine, fisheries and regional development. EU financing instruments can assist in the process. Achieving biodiversity objectives will also contribute to the growth and jobs agenda, food and water security, and to quality of life, as well as to the implementation of sustainable development goals globally and in the EU.
The mid-term review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020
Accompanying document:EU assessment of progress in implementing the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 Commission staff working document part 1, part 2 and part 3
Summary of progress towards the 2020 biodiversity targets