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Protect and restore our biodiversity and ecosystems

On 12 July, a vote will be held at the plenary session of the European Parliament on the Nature Restoration Law, a piece of legislation which constitutes an important part of the European Green Deal. It was first proposed by the Commission in June 2022 to facilitate the long-term recovery of damaged nature across the EU’s land and sea areas, and to achieve the EU’s climate and biodiversity objectives as part of the Green Deal. In particular, the law is part of the EU Biodiversity Strategy calling for binding targets to restore degraded ecosystems, especially those with the most potential to capture and store carbon and to prevent and reduce the impact of natural disasters. 

Europe’s nature is in alarming decline, with more than 80% of habitats in poor condition, and droughts and heatwaves have reduced annual average European yields significantly between 1961 and 2018. The Nature Restoration law aims to cover at least 20% of the EU’s land and sea by 2030, and all ecosystems in need of restoration by mid-century. If passed, EU states will set binding targets to restore degraded ecosystems, such as wetlands, rivers, and forests. During COP15 in December 2022, countries agreed to protect 30% of the planet and 30% of degraded ecosystems by 2030, which is a more ambitious target than the current EU proposal. 

In June, the Council of the European Union reached an agreement on the proposal, which will now serve as the Council’s mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament on the final shape of the legislation. During the plenary, MEPs will first vote to see if there is a majority in favour of rejecting the Commission’s proposal. Should there be no such majority, they will vote on any amendments put forward by political groups or at least 36 MEPs. 

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European Movement International’s Position  

The world is facing increasingly frequent natural disasters, climate change, loss of biodiversity, depletion of natural resources, and a growing population, to name only a few of the most pressing issues, which require urgent action. As we set out in our policy position on the European Green Deal, in order to preserve and restore our biodiversity and ecosystems, which underpin our economy and well-being, our current production, consumption, and behaviour patterns must change. The European Green Deal must become the compass guiding Europe’s economy towards one based on citizens’ well-being, a strong emphasis on social rights, reduced inequalities, and the protection of natural ecosystems. 

Human-induced changes to ecosystems have resulted in a continuous decline in biodiversity and the loss of many natural ecosystems. In our policy position Moving towards a sustainable Europe, we advocate for governments to prioritise EU water protection rules, and the EU should further support innovative approaches to sustainable water management through measures to promote the safe reuse of wastewater in agriculture and in the industrial and municipal sectors. Additionally, the EU needs to encourage cooperation in the region as well as share and invest in innovations to tackle key challenges, such as pollution, health challenges, access to clean water, and ecosystem threats, and channel support and investment towards sustainable development and the use of decarbonised and renewable energy. Moreover, as advocated for in our policy position A European Union Response to Covid-19, the EU, together with its key international partners and allies, should design and implement policies in a way that ensures the restoration and protection of our ecosystems. 



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