Introduction to EU biodiversity protection
In 2001, EU heads of state and governments committed to take action to halt biodiversity loss in the EU by 2010 and in 2002, the EU signed up to a global target of significantly reducing biodiversity loss worldwide by 2010.
The United Nations has declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity. Unfortunately, the target ten years ago has not been met – we still remain quite far from it.
Some progress has been made, with the better implementation of some important legislation such as the EU Habitats Directive and its network of Natura 2000 areas for the protection of Europe's most threatens habitats and species, and the adoption of new legislation and policy such as the EU Water Framework Directive, the EU Environmental Liability Directive or the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. But lots remains to be done.
While 17% of EU land is now included in the Natura 2000 network, half the species and up to 80% of habitat types protected under the Habitats Directive, as well as 40% of European bird species, have an unfavourable conservation status. In addition, the impacts of climate change represent a series of new threats for European protected habitats and species and ecosystem services, while at the same time healthy ecosystems are an essential defence against some of the most extreme impacts of climate change.
ClientEarth is committed to contribute to the 2010 debate on the new actions that EU Member States and EU Institutions should undertake to better protect biodiversity and our ecosystem over the next decade, in the EU and across the globe. ClientEarth will in particular use its legal expertise to foster effective enforcement of EU environmental legislation and improved governance mechanisms for a more effective EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy.