Global biodiversity crisis is the main environmental problem today besides climate change. The extinction of species is 100-1000 times higher than the background rate, with nearly one in six terrestrial mammals and more than one in five amphibians threatened in Europe.
This also has tangible negative effects on the society: biodiversity underpins ecosystem services, which contribute to human wellbeing through the provision of food, water, timber, stable climate, prevention from disasters, recreational opportunities and spiritual values among others.
In order to respond to the challenge and meet global and EU commitments, the European Commission released the new Biodiversity Strategy for the EU titled as ‘Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020’ as a follow up if the previous strategy, which expired in 2010. The new strategy includes six main targets, which are to be realized through several actions.
CEEweb for Biodiversity welcomes the new strategy and considers it as an important tool to implement main biodiversity commitments, such as the establishment and management of the Natura 2000 network protected under EU law and green infrastructure.
However, it lacks the political ambition of the EU to respond to the most important drivers of biodiversity loss and thus achieve significant improvements in the state of species and ecosystems.
While the effectiveness of the strategy will depend on the upcoming EU policy reforms on agriculture, fisheries and resource efficiency, as well as the new EU budget (2014-2021), the biodiversity strategy barely touches upon the main drivers behind biodiversity loss , and it fails to sufficiently inspire the necessary reforms and initiatives to deliver the desirable results.
CEEweb will call on the European Parliament and EU Member States to openly debate the underlying causes of biodiversity loss and support a reform of these policies which can address the problem.
“If we really want to protect biodiversity as our life insurance, we have to avoid the pitfalls of the previous strategy. We need to reduce our resource and land use and put ecosystem services at the heart of development planning,” says Klara Hajdu, CEEweb Secretary General.