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2010-Turning Point…

…or Breaking Point for Europe’s Wildlife?

BirdLife International has launched a groundbreaking new report on the state of biodiversity in the EU. Entitled ’2010-Turning or Breaking Point for Europe’s Wildlife?’, it denounces the EU’s failure to reach its target of halting biodiversity loss by 2010. The report also maps out the necessary steps needed to stop further declines and to reverse the biodiversity loss.

“The message from this report is clear: the EU needs to take decisive action if it wants to turn the tide on the deepening biodiversity crisis and follow on the pledge of the European Heads of State, who adopted a new ambitious target during their last European Council”, commented Ariel Brunner, Head of EU Policy at BirdLife International European Division. “We know what to do. The question is: do Europeans have the will and the courage to take action before it is too late?”

The report was compiled in cooperation with BirdLife Partners in all 27 EU Member States, and analyses the steps forward towards the EU 2010 biodiversity target against 10 major groups of indicators, measures of different aspects of biodiversity and essential to determine these progresses. Worryingly, three were rated as ’highly insufficient’, while all the others as ‘inadequate’.“The EU has failed to achieve the 2010 target and is still a long way off from preventing further loss of wildlife and habitats. The picture emerging from our assessment is one of continuing declines in biodiversity and inadequate responses”, continued Mr Brunner. “Despite the overall failure, however, there are many examples of best practices and local success stories that show how the EU already has powerful conservation tools, such as the EU Birds and Habitats Directives”.

For example, among the positive achievements, there is the recovery of some of the most threatened bird species listed in Annex I of the EU Birds Directive, such as White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla and Critically Endangered Azores Bullfinch Pyrrhula murina, and the great progress made in setting up the terrestrial Natura 2000 network. However, progresses are still required on the marine part.

As highlighted in the report, a strong post 2010 EU biodiversity policy must be properly implemented, especially focusing on its integration with other EU policies and on funding instruments, such as the European Rural Development Fund. The report suggests specific actions that would enable a new EU biodiversity policy to achieve its goals, such as stronger enforcement of EU nature legislation, developing 2020 biodiversity strategies for key specific policies such as the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), new investments in green infrastructure and strong measures to counteract the causes of biodiversity and ecosystem loss.The status of national biodiversity strategies shows that insufficient attention is paid to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at national level. Therefore, it is essential that the EU leads by example in the preparation of the next CBD meeting later this year in Nagoya, where the next global biodiversity target for 2020 is expected to be adopted. A recently published article in the leading journal Science – led by BirdLife Scientist Dr Stuart Butchart - also showed for the first time how the global target aiming to achieve a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010, agreed in 2002 by the Convention on Biological Diversity, has not been met.

Compiling over 30 indicators including changes in species’ populations and risk of extinction, habitat extent and community composition – the study found no evidence for a significant reduction in the rate of decline of biodiversity globally, and that the pressures facing biodiversity continue to increase.

The indicators included in the study were developed and synthesised through the 2010 Biodiversity Indicators Partnership – a collaboration of over 40 international organisations and agencies developing global biodiversity indicators and the leading source of information on trends in global biodiversity.

Download the full report here: http://www.birdlife.org/eu/pdfs/BirdLife2010AssessmentreportFINAL.pdf

4th July 2014