At the UN summit in China, scheduled for May, the European Union will propose commitments for biodiversity in the style of the Paris Agreement, pledging €20 billion of funding per year to protect wildlife.
The idea follows a grave warning from scientists: One million out of Earth’s eight million species are threatened with extinction. The latest State of Nature report, published by the European Environment Agency in October 2020, warned that biodiversity is in critical decline. Over 60% of species have a “poor” or “bad” status, the most endangered being fish and amphibians.
Biodiversity protection in the EU is currently dealt with under the Natura 2000 conservation programme, which covers around 18% of EU land and 10% of sea. The EU aims to increase each figure to 30%, but only 14 out of the 27 EU countries signed up to this target at the One Planet Summit in January. The EU habitats directive protects 1,389 species and 233 habitats. However, member states only reported improvements for 198 species and habitats, according to the State of Nature report, which claims there to be 67,000 individual pressures on biodiversity. Most reported pressures on habitats and species come from agriculture. Urban sprawl, leisure activities, unsustainable forestry and pollution also play a role.
“Despite significant efforts by member states and some improvements, biodiversity in the EU continues to decline and faces deteriorating trends from changes in land and sea use, overexploitation and unsustainable management practices, as well as water regime modification, pollution, invasive alien species and climate change”State of Nature Report, October 2020, European Environment Agency
Biodiversity in Europe: EU aims to protect 30% of land and sea, Euractiv, 2021-02-16