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WWF: More money needed for effective action on nature

27 April 2017
by WWF -- last modified 27 April 2017

WWF welcomes the "EU Action Plan for Nature, People and the Economy" published today by the European Commission.


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WWF welcomes the “EU Action Plan for Nature, People and the Economy” published today by the European Commission. The plan includes a series of essential actions to ensure Europe’s natural heritage is better managed and protected. EU governments must now step up to their commitments to effectively protect nature across the continent.

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 states.

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 2000. 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.

The EU is responsible for approximately 80% of environmental laws in the member states and for policies such as agriculture, fisheries, regional aid, climate and energy, trade and development cooperation. The WWF European Policy Office advocates on the EU level for a more sustainable future for people and planet.

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