Conserving biodiversity requires adequate funding, say EU Environment ministers

19 July 2013 | News story
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“IUCN welcomes the outcomes of the Informal Meeting of EU Environment Ministers earlier this week. It shows that Ministers are committed to the EU 2020 biodiversity targets. It is essential that adequate resources are allocated for implementing the necessary measures for biodiversity” says Luc Bas, Director of IUCN European Union Representative Office. 

A two day Informal Meeting of Ministers for the Environment and Climate Change took place this week in Vilnius, Lithuania – which has recently taken over the Presidency of the European Council. The meeting was attended by the Ministers or Heads of Delegations and delegates from all EU Member States and some other European countries, European Parliament, European Investment Bank and other European institutions.

The first day of the Meeting was dedicated to mainstreaming of natural capital and biodiversity financing. The discussions were based on a background paper circulated by the Lithuanian Presidency that laid the ground for the European Union and its Member States on mainstreaming the protection of natural capital and biodiversity in different sectors and exploring the biodiversity financing opportunities at national, EU and international level in the context of new Multiannual Financial Framework. 

During the Meeting, it was confirmed that loss of biodiversity can weaken the resilience of ecosystems, impair their services and negatively impact human well-being. Ministers from several countries stressed that compromise on delivery of ecosystem services can jeopardize the attainment of Europe 2020 goals, including the potential for green growth, and emphasized the necessity to mainstream biodiversity-related actions at every level.

It was acknowledged, that investing in key elements of EU natural capital, including Natura 2000, Green Infrastructure and the restoration agenda needs to be a priority for Member States for the next seven years.

Ministers highlighted the importance of mobilizing both EU and national financial resources from all possible including private sources in order to ensure adequate levels of funding towards meeting biodiversity objectives.

It was also recognized that tracking biodiversity-related expenditures is essential to ensure that spending are related to policy outcomes in order to improve the effectiveness of funding. The importance of delivering on EU commitments to biodiversity protection at global level has also been reminded.

“Member States need to mobilize more resources, or the 2020 biodiversity commitments will not be achieved. European biodiversity is vital for our own well-being and the economy. We strongly welcome this message from Environment Ministers which needs to be heard beyond the environmental community, and reach the financial and economic decision-makers in the EU“ says Luc Bas.

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