The European Commission has come up with a long-awaited Biodiversity and Agriculture Strategies. The documents will set out the main features of EU biodiversity and agriculture policies for the next decade. Adopted at the height of the COVID 19 pandemic, these strategies will be a central element of the EU’s recovery plan.
Intensive farming and fishing are the biggest drivers of biodiversity loss. By enacting both strategies simultaneously, the EU is recognising that nature-destructive systems should no longer be the norm in Europe. The strategies also show that the Commission has applied key lessons from the COVID 19 pandemic – a healthy planet is a prerequisite for a healthy humanity. Science must guide policy choices and steps must be taken before the crisis spins out of control.
The Commission takes several radical leaps with both strategies and outlines goals that could make a real difference to the state of nature in Europe:
- Increase protected areas on land and at sea by 30% each. A third of these protected areas will be strictly protected, meaning that no human activity can take place;
- Reduce the use of pesticides by 50%, both in terms of quantity and toxicity;
- Restore 10% of agricultural land with a biodiversity component to improve the sustainability of agriculture;
- Set targets for restoring important large-scale ecosystems such as peatlands, wetlands, forests and marine ecosystems that are vital for biodiversity and in the fight against climate change;
- Minimise the burning of biomass, such as trees, for energy production.
The Commission presents a number of progressive steps and targets to reform Europe’s destructive agricultural practices. Later this year, these two strategies will play an essential role in the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, which has a budget of nearly EUR 60 billion.
Today, 22 of May, is the International Biodiversity Day, and what better news than the Commission proposing a new plan to save the planet. This year, the day is being celebrated online and marks the end of the UN’s decade on biodiversity.
The Life for Eagles’ Habitats project has the purpose to conserve one of the planet’s most precious and important habitats – the forest with all its biodiversity. Forest provides many resources important to people.