The coordination group for Biodiversity and Nature were held in Brussels on 18thSeptember 2018. The main topics of discussion were the LIFE projects, funding, CAP and its impact on biodiversity, Biodiversity and Nature strategies, Green Infrastructure, Horizon Europe, Forest Strategy and EU initiation of pollination.
Finances for nature and biodiversity protection
Questions about available funds for biodiversity and environmental projects were raised, but the Commission argued that the final allocation of resources will be known when the Multiannual Financial Framework and CAP are decided. Already now it was known that, in the new CAP, 30% of supportmust be targeted towards nature conservation.
Future CAP and biodiversity aspects
Rural development funds under CAP come from public money and should be used for public goods such as biodiversity, environmental protection, etc. The new CAP will recognize an even greater variety of “greening” measures such as the minimal area to set-aside from production, banning the cutting of edges and trees around the fields, non-intervention during bird-breeding season, support to environmental and climate change related investments and young farmers as well as providing payments for Natura 2000 areas in agricultural land, similar to what is currently done for forests now. A modernized system under a new CAP should allow avoiding overlaps (double funding) between the two pillars, while offering more flexibility and less bureaucracy to MS. However, Germany claims that there is too much freedom for MS which could allow agriculture, as a strong sector, to use EU funds for measures which do not meet the environmental objectives of the EU and may cause negative effects to nature.
EU action on pollinators
The EU has committed to halt the decline of pollinators. A recent public consultation received more than 60 000 replies, out of which 90% reported alarming situations. As a first step, the Commission announced the gathering of information on insect pollinators in order to cover the existing gaps in knowledge. In a second step, the causes of decline will be tackled. The action will include identification of threatened species and habitats, both in rural and urban areas. The impact of pesticides must be evaluated and their application controlled. In a third and final step, the Commission will develop actions to raise the awareness and engagement of entrepreneurs and society in Member States.
To accomplish the mentioned steps expert groups are needed, but finances for monitoring are under question.
More information about this initiative is available here.
The document “Informing strategic green infrastructure and restoration planning through mapping and assessment methods based on spatial and technical data” is under preparation by the European Commission. Following their public consultationthe Commission stated that it will consider all the comments and include them in the revised document. The next version of the document will appear at the end of 2018 or beginning of 2019.
Evolution of Biodiversity Strategy 2020
While discussing the implementation of the existing Biodiversity Strategy 2020 the CGBN experts called on making a stronger link to Sustainable Development Goals. Further work on the new strategy should be done based on a step-by-step approach, using non-technical language and reducing the possibilities of different interpretations. The revised Strategy must also build on an analysis of the causes of implementation failures of the current strategy and seek solutions for improvement. At the event, France presented its national biodiversity strategy action plan, which consists of 90 different actions, including those which support the bio-economy without causing harm to nature and/or biodiversity, halting the production of plastics, reducing light pollution and other measures to reduce the ecological footprint of economic development.