Dear Members, Dear Readers,
It is a great pleasure to introduce the European Newsletter for the first time since I took office as Director of the IUCN European Union Representative Office in Brussels.
The current economic crisis which the European Union is facing seems to supersede the need for environmental action. But the EU and its Members States are at a turning point, and need to better understand the enormous potential which nature-based solutions can bring to help ensure jobs and economic development.
Next to the huge challenge of tackling climate change, Europe is also confronted with a continued pressure on biodiversity with around 25% of European species being threatened according to our most recent European Red List assessments. The EU and the Member States have set ambitious targets in the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy and, as time flies, there is a need to speed up action to achieve them. All actors at all levels, including businesses need to do their part.
The EU Representative Office will strengthen the science-policy role of IUCN in Brussels by informing and advising EU policy-makers on natural solutions using the immense knowledge of our network. IUCN, with its unique member base of governments and non-governmental organizations, and through its network of experts, produces and has access to the most complete and reliable information on nature conservation worldwide.
One of our main objectives is also to reinforce connections with the private sector. We believe that there is still a lot of untapped potential in making the business case for biodiversity in Europe. Companies can and should invest more in protecting nature to secure the resources needed for their business, and we need to better explain cost-effective nature-based solutions.
The better integration of conservation considerations into climate change, agriculture, marine and development policies is another area where IUCN Brussels will intensify its efforts.
This focus of this edition of the European Newsletter is on urban biodiversity and the major role which cities, and both local and regional authorities, can play to conserve nature and achieve the EU biodiversity targets. Around 75% of Europeans live in cities according to the European Environment Agency, and the concentration of people and the infrastructure they need to live can have a tremendous impact on nature.
Investing in biodiversity and ecosystems can support cities and local authorities to find solutions for some of the biggest challenges they are facing. Natural solutions can help to reduce climate change impacts, ensure food, water and energy security and enhance quality of life, save money and promote economic development. In multiple ways, IUCN will continue to mobilize the biodiversity conservation expertise of its network to support sub-national authorities on their path towards a truly sustainable urban future.
Director, EU Representative Office
>> Read European Newsletter - July 2013