EU biodiversity strategy for 2030
Communication — EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 on bringing nature back into our lives
It aims to put Europe’s biodiversity* on the path to recovery by 2030 for the benefit of nature, people and the climate.
To achieve this, the strategy sets out a comprehensive framework of commitments and actions to tackle the main causes of biodiversity loss:
land- and sea-use changes;
the overexploitation of biological resources;
invasive alien species.
The strategy also provides a blueprint for the EU’s position on the global post-2020 biodiversity framework, to be adopted at the UN Summit on Biodiversity in 2021.
The EU 2030 biodiversity strategy was adopted in tandem with the EU farm-to-fork strategy. They are designed to be mutually reinforcing, bringing together nature, farmers, businesses and consumers.
It is a central part of the European Green Deal and it will steer efforts towards sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
It will further support climate mitigation and adaptation efforts through nature-based solutions that sequester and store carbon in healthy ecosystems and help nature and society adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change.
To put biodiversity on the path to recovery, the strategy sets out a number of targets and commitments to achieve by 2030 at the latest, in the following four main areas.
A coherent network of protected areas
legally protects at least 30% of the EU’s land area and 30% of its sea area, and integrates ecological corridors as part of a Trans-European Nature Network;
strictly protects at least 30% of the EU’s protected areas, including all primary* and old-growth forests*;
effectively manages all protected areas, defining clear conservation objectives and measures and monitoring them appropriately;
With the EU countries, the European Commission will set out and agree criteria and guidance for additional protected and strictly protected areas by the end of 2021.
EU countries will have until the end of 2023 to demonstrate significant progress in legally designating new protected areas and in integrating ecological corridors.
The Commission will assess by 2024 whether the EU is on track to meet its 2030 targets or whether stronger actions are needed, including EU legislation.
An EU nature restoration plan
The plan includes the following commitments for 2030:
propose legally binding EU nature-restoration targets in 2021, subject to an impact assessment;
restore significant areas of degraded and carbon-rich ecosystems;
ensure that habitats and species show no deterioration, and that at least 30% of those in unfavourable conservation status reach favourable status, or at least show a positive trend;
reverse the decline in pollinators;
reduce the risk and use of chemical pesticides by 50% and reduce the use of more hazardous pesticides by 50%;
manage at least 25% of agricultural land under organic farming and significantly increase the uptake of agro-ecological practices;
remediate significant areas of contaminated soil sites;
plant 3 billion trees for biodiversity, according to ecological principles;
restore at least 25,000 km of free-flowing rivers;
reduce by 50% the number of ‘red list’ species threatened by invasive alien species;
reduce losses of nutrients from fertilisers by 50%, resulting in a reduction in the use of fertilisers of at least 20%;
support cities with more than 20,000 inhabitants to put in place ambitious urban greening plans by the end of 2021;
eliminate or minimise the negative effects of fishing and extraction activities on sensitive species and habitats;
eliminate or reduce by-catch* of marine species to a level that allows their recovery and conservation.
Enabling transformative change
To ensure the implementation of the commitments and encourage transformative change, the Commission and the EU countries will do the following.
Set out a new EU biodiversity governance framework with implementation obligations and milestones to ensure accountability and co-responsibility by all actors in meeting the biodiversity commitments. The framework will also strengthen stakeholder engagement and transparent and participatory governance. It will include a monitoring and review mechanism with a clear set of agreed indicators to enable regular progress assessment and set out corrective action if necessary. The Commission will assess the approach in 2023, and consider whether a legally binding governance set-up is needed.
Step up the implementation and enforcement of EU environmental legislation.
Build on a whole-of-society approach to biodiversity protection, engaging business, mobilising private and public funding at national and EU level, guiding investments towards a green recovery and the deployment of nature-based solutions, and strengthening knowledge, education and skills for biodiversity protection and restoration.
An ambitious global biodiversity agenda
The EU will contribute to this agenda by committing to:
work with like-minded partners in a high-level coalition for biodiversity and lead by example for an ambitious global post-2020 biodiversity framework;
use external action to promote biodiversity protection and restoration, in particular in relation to international oceans governance, trade, international cooperation, neighbourhood policy and resource mobilisation.
By 2024, the Commission will review the progress and assess whether further action is needed to meet the strategy’s objectives.
EU biodiversity strategy 2030 (European Commission).
Biodiversity: the variety of life on Earth including genes, species and ecosystems.
Primary forest: a forest that has never been logged and has developed following natural disturbances and under natural processes, regardless of its age.
Old-growth forest: a section of forest that has developed structures and species normally associated with old primary forest of that type.
By-catch: unwanted fish and marine species caught unintentionally.
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 — Bringing nature back into our lives (COM(2020) 380 final, 20.5.2020)
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — A farm-to-fork strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system (COM(2020) 381 final, 20.5.2020)
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — The European Green Deal (COM(2019) 640 final, 11.12.2019)
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 (COM(2011) 244 final, 3.5.2011)
Compliance with rules on access and benefit-sharing arising from the use of
Genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge
Regulation (EU) No 511/2014 — compliance measures for users of genetic resources and the sharing of benefits arising from their utilization
This regulation concerns compliance with rules on access to genetic resources* and traditional knowledge* associated with those genetic resources, and sharing the benefits arising from their use, as set out in the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilisation to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The Nagoya Protocol’s access and benefit-sharing (ABS) objective is the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of a genetic resource with the country that provided that genetic resource. The resource should be used sustainably and the benefits are expected to be passed on to the conservation of biodiversity.
The overall objective of the regulation is that users of genetic resources and associated related traditional knowledge must ensure that benefits are fairly and equitably shared upon mutually agreed terms.
Genetic resources are used by universities, non-commercial and commercial researchers and companies for research and development leading to commercialisation of products. They are used in many sectors such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and the food and feed industry, but also in plant breeding or biotechnology.
All countries (including EU countries) have rights over their natural resources and the authority to determine access to their genetic resources.
The challenge faced by provider countries is following up their genetic resource once it leaves the country. An important added value of the Nagoya Protocol is the establishment of the compliance measures. ‘User’ countries need to take measures to ensure that genetic resources used in their country were accessed in accordance with the ABS rules of the provider country (prior informed consent obtained and mutually agreed terms established). This information is then transferred back to the provider country. Regulation (EU) No 511/2014 contains the rules governing such compliance measures.
The basic requirement of the regulation is due diligence. Users of genetic resources need to seek, keep and transfer to subsequent users a set of information relevant to genetic resources. If users do not have sufficient information on the legality of access and use, they should obtain a permit, establish mutually agreed terms or stop using the resource.
Users of genetic resources are also obliged to submit a due diligence declaration. Filing a due diligence declaration is required at two stages in the EU:
at the stage of research funding where such research involves the use of genetic resources;
at the final stage of development of a product.
This means that there are two checkpoints in the EU. Information from these checkpoints is transferred to the ABS Clearing House (the international IT tool for exchange of information between all relevant actors) and to the provider countries.
Users must keep information on access and benefit-sharing of the resource for 20 years after they stop using it.
Each EU country must designate at least one authority to be responsible for the implementation of this regulation. This authority receives the due diligence declarations and is responsible for carrying out checks on users.
There are also two voluntary registers supporting implementation, a register of collections and a register of best practices.
Application & Background
It has applied since 12 October 2014 with the exception of a few articles which have applied since 12 October 2015.
The main international framework for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from using genetic resources is the 1993 Convention on Biological Diversity.
The Nagoya Protocol, adopted in October 2010, builds on the rules of the Convention on access to genetic resources and sharing of monetary and non-monetary benefits arising from the utilisations of genetic resources.
Genetic resource: natural and domesticated or cultivated species that play a role in food production, forestry, medicines, cosmetics and bio-based sources of energy. They also play a role in strategies to restore damaged ecosystems and safeguard endangered species.
Traditional knowledge: knowledge held by indigenous and local communities.
Regulation (EU) No 511/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on compliance measures for users from the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization in the Union (OJ L 150, 20.5.2014, pp. 59-71)
Commission notice — Guidance document on the scope of application and core obligations of Regulation (EU) No 511/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the compliance measures for users from the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilisation in the Union (OJ C 313, 27.8.2016, pp. 1-19)
Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/1866 of 13 October 2015 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Regulation (EU) No 511/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the register of collections, monitoring user compliance and best practices (OJ L 275, 20.10.2015, pp. 4-19)
Council Decision 2014/283/EU of 14 April 2014 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity (OJ L 150, 20.5.2014, pp. 231-233)
Council Decision 93/626/EEC of 25 October 1993 concerning the conclusion of the Convention on Biological Diversity (OJ L 309, 13.12.1993, pp. 1-2)