Natural thirst inspires a world first: a law restoring nature
BRUSSELS, Belgium, June 27, 2022 (ENS) – The European Commission has adopted proposals for its first Nature Restoration Act so that the damaged ecosystems of 80% of Europe can be revitalized – from forests to seas, farmland to streams, and even city parks.
The Commission is proposing the first legislation that explicitly targets the restoration of Europe’s natural areas, to fix what the Commission admits is “80% of Europe’s habitats that are in poor condition” and to bring nature back to all of Europe’s ecosystems. EU.
Under the proposed law, legally binding targets for nature restoration in different ecosystems would apply to all 27 EU member states, complementing existing laws.
The new law builds on existing legislation, but covers all ecosystems rather than being limited to the Habitats Directive and Natura 2000 protected areas, aiming to put all natural and semi-natural ecosystems on the path to recovery. here 2030.
The aim is to cover at least 20% of EU land and sea areas by 2030 with nature restoration measures, and possibly to extend them to all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050.
Ecosystems with the greatest potential for carbon removal and storage and for preventing or reducing the impact of natural disasters such as floods would be top priorities.
If passed, the law will receive substantial EU funding. Under the current multi-annual financial framework, approximately €100 billion will be available for expenditure on biodiversity, including restoration.
Environmental campaigners welcomed the proposal and said they would work with Parliament to improve it further. “The Restoration Act is a tremendous opportunity to restore nature before the climate crisis and the biodiversity crisis spiral completely out of control. Restoring ecosystems such as peatlands, forests and seagrasses can help reduce emissions and sequester millions of tonnes of carbon every year,” said Sabien Leemans, Senior Biodiversity Policy Officer at WWF, Europe.
Pesticides on the exit
The Commission is also determined to reduce the “use and risks” of chemical pesticides by 50% by 2030.
“It is time to change course on how we use pesticides in the EU,” said Health and Food Safety Commissioner Stella Kyriakides. “This is about the health of our citizens and our planet. With this proposal, we are meeting the expectations of our citizens and our commitments under the Farm to Fork Strategy to build a more sustainable and healthier food production system. We must reduce the use of chemical pesticides to protect our soil, air and food, and ultimately the health of our citizens.
“For the first time, we will ban the use of pesticides in public gardens and playgrounds, ensuring that we are all much less exposed in our daily lives,” Kyriakides said, assuring farmers, “The common agricultural policy will financially support farmers to cover all the costs of the new rules for a period of five years. No one will be left behind.”
The Commission says it will, for the first time, propose a measure that follows through on its commitment to take global environmental considerations into account when deciding on maximum residue levels for pesticides in food.
The Commission has announced that it will soon consult Member States and third countries on a measure reducing to zero residues of thiamethoxam and clothianidin, two substances which are no longer approved in the EU and which are known to contribute to global decline of pollinators.
These legislative proposals follow the Biodiversity and Farm to Fork Strategies and will help ensure the resilience and security of food supplies in the European Union and globally, the Commission said in a statement on Friday.
Executive Vice-President of the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, said: “We humans depend on nature. For the air we breathe, for the water we drink, for the food we eat – for life. Our economy is also based on nature. The climate and biodiversity crises threaten the very foundation of our life on Earth.
“We have made progress in tackling the climate crisis, and today we are adding two laws that represent a massive step forward in the fight against impending ecocide. When we restore nature, we allow it to continue to provide clean air, water and food, and we allow it to protect us from the worst of the climate crisis. Reducing pesticide use also helps nature recover and protects humans who work with these chemicals,” Timmermans said.
The Nature Restoration Bill is a key step to avoid ecosystem collapse and prevent the worst impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss, the Commission explained, saying: “The restoration of wetlands, rivers, forests, grasslands, marine ecosystems, urban environments and the species they support is a crucial and profitable investment: in our food security, our climate resilience, our health and our well-being.
“In the same vein, the new rules on chemical pesticides will reduce the environmental footprint of the EU food system, protect the health and well-being of citizens and farm workers, and help mitigate losses. we are already experiencing due to declining soil health and pesticide-induced loss of pollinators,” the Commission said.
Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius said: “Europeans are clear. They want the EU to act for nature and bring it back into their lives. The scientists are clear. There is no time to lose, the window is closing. And clear is also the business case. Every euro spent on catering will bring us at least eight back. That is what this historic proposal is about, restoring biodiversity and ecosystems so that we can live and thrive with nature.
“It is a law for all people in Europe and for generations to come, for a healthy planet and a healthy economy,” Sinkevičius said. “This is a first of its kind in the world, and we hope it can inspire high international commitment for the protection of biodiversity at the next COP15.”
Biodiversity conference moves to Montreal for safety
The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, CBD, announced on June 21 that the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) will move from Kunming, China to Montreal, Canada.
After nearly two years of delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, conservation and biodiversity scientists have grown increasingly concerned that China’s strict zero COVID strategy, which uses measures such as lockdowns to cancel all SARS-CoV-2 infections, does not force the host country to delay the meeting again.
COP15, now scheduled for Montreal, will bring together representatives from nearly 200 CBD member states from December 5-17. China will continue to chair COP15, and Huang Runqiu, China’s Minister of Ecology and Environment, will continue as its President.
In a statement, Huang said: “China would like to underscore its strong and continued commitment as COP President to ensuring the success of the second part of COP15, including the adoption of a global framework for biodiversity after 2020, and to promote its performance throughout its presidency.
Researchers had warned that another setback to the proposed biodiversity deal, which aims to halt the ‘alarming’ rate of species extinctions and protect vulnerable ecosystems, would be disastrous for countries’ ability to meet the ambitious targets proposed to protect biodiversity over the next few years. decade.
Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly welcomed participants to the biodiversity conference saying: “Montreal has always hosted the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention on Diversity organic. As China cannot provide the conference venue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada is mobilizing to fill this role.
“The Government of Canada’s primary concern has always been to ensure that COP15 is a success for nature, wherever it takes place,” they said.
“There is an urgent need for international partners to halt and reverse the alarming loss of biodiversity around the world. Canada will continue to advocate for international collaboration on an ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework, targeting the conservation of 30% of land and oceans by 2030,” the Canadian ministers said.
“With up to a million species currently threatened with extinction around the world, declining biodiversity has critical implications for humanity, from collapsing food, economic and health systems to disrupting supply chains. ‘entire supply,’ they pointed out. “The world can no longer afford to wait for global action to protect nature.”
The featured image: Schwangau, Bavaria, Germany under development. August 19, 2018 (Photo by Hans Permana)
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