Public Consultation Opens on Future EU Biodiversity Policy

The European Commission has launched a web-based consultation to gather input from a wide range of stakeholders on policy options for the European Union’s post-2010 EU biodiversity strategy.

Opinions are sought from citizens, stakeholders, public administrations, business and civil society on issues including the shortcomings of the existing biodiversity policy, the new approach that the Commission is proposing, farming and biodiversity, the economics of biodiversity, and biodiversity governance inside and outside the EU.

The results will feed into the new strategy which is under development. The consultation runs until 22 October 2010.

European Commissioner for Environment Janez Potocnik says: “Europeans agree on the need to step up efforts to combat biodiversity loss. I encourage everyone concerned by this vital issue to contribute and to help shape our policy on this vital issue.”

European Commissioner for Environment Janez Potocnik.

Many authoritative reports confirm that global biodiversity remains under severe threat, with losses occurring at 100 to 1000 times the normal rate. More than a third of species assessed are facing extinction and an estimated 60% of the Earth’s ecosystems have been degraded in the last 50 years.

In 2001, the EU set itself the target to halt biodiversity loss in the EU by 2010. Efforts to tackle biodiversity loss were subsequently stepped up, and an EU Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) was adopted by the Commission in 2006 to accelerate progress. Despite the efforts to date, however, there are clear indications that the EU has not achieved its target. A new approach is therefore required.

New Focus to Combat Biodiversity Loss

In March 2010, the Council of the European Union agreed on a post-2010 vision and an ambitious new 2020 target for biodiversity to replace the expiring 2010 target. The new target aims to ‘halt the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020, restore them in so far as feasible, while stepping up the EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss’.

The Council asked the Commission to develop a fully-fledged strategy focused on a limited set of measurable sub-targets for different ecosystems, drivers of biodiversity loss, and response measures.

This survey is intended to canvas opinions about the various policy options available to fine-tune the new strategy, and the steps needed to ensure that it achieves the desired results. The survey asks in particular about areas where current EU legislation is perceived as inadequate or in need of strengthening, and about options for improving the integration of biodiversity policy into other areas.

Visit www.ec.europa.eu/environment/consultations/biodecline.htm to take part in the survey.

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