As a key element of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the European Green Deal, restoring Europe's damaged ecosystems will help to increase biodiversity, mitigate and adapt to climate change, and prevent and reduce the impacts of natural disasters.
The initiative for the development of EU nature restoration targets also aims to improve knowledge and monitoring of ecosystems and their services. Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius said: “Human activities have significantly altered three quarters of the Earth's lands and two thirds of oceans in recent decades, destabilising our climate and our natural life support systems. Restoring natural ecosystems is a triple win for nature, climate and people. It will help solve the biodiversity crisis, tackle climate change and reduce the risks of future pandemics. It can also stimulate recovery in a post-pandemic world, creating jobs and sustainable growth.” The Commission is also preparing an impact assessment to support the development of EU nature restoration targets, and to assess their potential environmental, social and economic impacts.
The earlier roadmap for the development of EU nature restoration targets mapped out policy options for restoration targets to be explored in the impact assessment. On the basis of the impact assessment and taking into account answers received from the public consultation, the Commission will put forward a proposal for legally binding EU nature restoration targets by the end of 2021. The public consultation will remain open for feedback until 5 April.
The launch of the public consultation comes on the day of the One Planet Summit, co-organised by France, the UN and the World Bank, which this year focuses on biodiversity. More information is available in the news item here.