In 2011, the European Union (EU ) adopted a strategy to protect and improve the state of biodiversity in Europe by 2020. This strategy sets out six targets that cover the main factors for loss of biodiversity and that will help in reducing the strongest pressures being faced by nature.
This strategy aims to halt the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystems in the European Union (EU) by 2020, by identifying six priority targets.
This strategy is an integral part of the Europe 2020 strategy, and, in particular, of the flagship initiative entitled “A resource-efficient Europe”. It is strongly inspired by the Strategic Plan 2011-2020 of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The strategy covers two major commitments made by EU leaders in March 2010, to halt the loss of biodiversity in the EU by 2020 and to protect, assess and restore biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU by 2050.
Target 1: To conserve and regenerate nature
The EU must ensure better application of Directives “Birds” and “Habitats”. In order to achieve the first target of this strategy, Member States must ensure better application of existing legislation. In particular, they must manage and restore the Natura 2000 sites by investing the necessary resources. These actions would contribute towards halting biodiversity loss and restoring biodiversity by 2020.
Target 2: To conserve and enhance ecosystems and their services
The integration of a green infrastructure, restoring at least 15 % of the degraded ecosystems by 2020, and the development of an initiative aimed at preventing any net loss of ecosystems and their services by 2015, will be essential measures for maintaining and improving ecosystem services (for example the pollination of crops by bees).
Target 3: To ensure sustainability of agriculture and forestry
The instruments provided under the CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) should contribute towards maximising areas under agriculture across grasslands, arable land, and permanent crops that are covered by biodiversity measures, by 2020.
Forest Management Plans or equivalent instruments will be put in place for all forests that are publicly owned and for forest holdings above a certain size, by 2020. The plans must ensure sustainable management of forests in order to receive funding under the EU’s Rural Development Policy.
Measures adopted to ensure sustainable management must also contribute towards achieving targets 1 and 2 of the strategy.
Target 4: To ensure the sustainable use of fishery resources
The measures adopted as part of the Common Fisheries Reform must enable the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) to be achieved by 2015. In order to achieve this, it is essential to achieve a population by age and by size distribution indicative of a healthy stock. Through fisheries management with no significant adverse impacts on other stocks, species and ecosystems, it will be possible to achieve Good Environmental Status by 2020, in accordance with the “Marine Strategy Framework-Directive”.
Target 5: To fight against invasive non-native species
With the exception of the legislation on the use of alien and locally absent species in aquaculture, there is currently no comprehensive EU policy on combating invasive alien species. However, these species pose a significant threat to European biodiversity. It is therefore necessary to identify them, isolate or eradicate them, and to control their introduction in order to prevent the appearance of new species. To this end, the Commission will fill policy gaps in combating invasive alien species with a dedicated legislative instrument.
Target 6: To manage the global biodiversity crisis
The EU must step up its contribution to averting global biodiversity loss by meeting the commitments made at the 10th Conference of Parties (COP10) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, which took place in Nagoya in 2010.