On 19 October 2020 the European Commission published a communication on the current State of Nature across the Union which depicts a far from encouraging scenario. 

Based on the report of the European Environmental Agency, which assessed the information gathered from 2013 to 2018 on the implementation of EU cornerstone legislation on nature (i.e. Habitats and Birds Directives), the Commission found that the policy framework in place has fallen short in halting biodiversity loss by 2020. 

The EEA report is particularly relevant because it constitutes ‘the largest and most complete health check of nature ever undertaken in the EU’, provides ‘a robust baseline for measuring progress’ under the new 2030 EU Biodiversity Strategy and tells us what we need to do if we want to be serious about having a real chance of putting Europe’s biodiversity on a path to recovery in the next decade.

The EEA report labels the climate as the biggest threat for nature, which also suffers from the pressures of unsustainable agriculture and forestry, unfettered urban sprawling and overexploitation of water resources. The combined effects of these and other factors (e.g. air pollution, illegal hunting and fishing) are the cause of the continuing and serious decline that nature in Europe is experiencing, and of the poor conservation status of many habitats and species protected under EU law.

As highlighted by environmental groups like WWF Europe, the EEA report makes clear that ‘time is up’ since postponing concrete, science-led and well-funded policy measures to the benefit of our natural capital is no longer an option. 

At the same time, however, the Agency also give us hope, pointing to the existence of ‘inspiring’ and EU-supported ‘success stories’ that need to be scaled-up without further delay in order to increase nature’s resilience.

On the occasion of the EU Green Week 2020, our webinar on ‘Better regional policies to protect and restore nature’ wanted to go in that exact direction, by shedding light on good practices stemming from successful examples of interregional cooperation, such as those developed by BID-REX and BIOGOV Interreg Europe projects, which can inspire other biodiversity-targeted actions in our continent. Want to read about the webinar and have a look at its main take-aways? Click here

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