WWF: More money needed for effective action on nature
Andreas Baumüller, Head of Natural Resources at WWF European Policy Office, said:
“The EU Action Plan for nature is a positive commitment by the Juncker Commission to save threatened species and habitats in Europe. We expect this commitment to be fully reflected in the upcoming policy reforms especially in the EU Budget. A substantial increase in funding is needed to implement this EU action plan and to save threatened wildlife in Europe.”
In December last year, the European Commission decided that the EU Birds and Habitats Directives are the most valuable and effective tool to protect nature in Europe, and announced stronger actions to improve their implementation. While the Directives protect about 20% of the EU’s land and 6% of its seas, the situation on the ground is very different: as reported by WWF over half of Europe’s natural areas are only protected on paper due to widespread delays and defaults across member states1.
The EU Action Plan does address important gaps in the implementation of the directives, like the long overdue completion of the Natura 2000 network, the world’s largest network of protected areas and the adoption of the necessary conservation measures. But there is an important gap still to be tackled: the current EU budget covers up to 20% of the funding needed to properly manage Natura 20002. The Action Plan should have better highlighted the urgency of a comprehensive update of these financial needs in time for the upcoming debate on the next EU budget.
The European Commission failed also to present specific actions to tackle the drivers of biodiversity loss, namely agriculture, energy and transport. A strategy to overcome the decline of pollinators like bees and a commitment to set up a Trans-European Network for Green Infrastructure (TEN-G) to support large scale restoration projects are two major gaps.
WWF calls on the European Commission to present complementary measures to address these key threats to biodiversity.
1 – WWF’s recent report “Preventing paper parks: How to make the EU nature laws work” showed that over half of Europe’s natural areas are only protected on paper. Increased marine protected areas, effective measures and plans for all natural sites, increased investments and better monitoring and enforcement of legal obligations are identified as the right responses to ensure Europe’s nature is effectively protected and restored.
2 – The required expenditure for establishment, ecological improvement and maintenance of the entire Natura 2000 network has been estimated at a minimum of €5.8 billion/year for the EU-27 (2010). Only 9-19% of these costs are provided by the EU budget (EU Commission and IEEP report)
For more information:
Sabien Leemans, Senior Biodiversity Policy Officer, WWF European Policy Office, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, +32 486 80 04 37
Stefania Campogianni, Communications Manager, WWF European Policy Office, email@example.com, +32 499 53 97 36