Nature thrives, we thrive

As talks on the global agenda for the next 10 years of biodiversity conservation begin, environmentalists are expressing concerns that plans lack the urgency our natural world needs and deserves, Gemma Bowcock writes.

A planetary gathering for a planetary crisis

Negotiations took place in Rome this week on a worldwide framework for nature conservation. The agreement, currently in draft form, will be adopted at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Kunming, China later this year.

The issues affecting the natural world have never been higher on the public and political agenda and quite rightly so, since the issues have never been so pressing.

The CBD represents a crucial opportunity for humanity to improve the way that nature is conserved and restored, and to stop the devastating loss of biodiversity already happening worldwide.

During these early negotiations, calls were made for 30% of the world’s surface to be formally protected for biodiversity, the amount recommended by conservation scientists to prevent the worst outcomes of the climate and ecological emergency.

Sergiy Moroz of the EEB says that, while the ambition is appreciated, there seems to be a lack of urgency in the room.

Even though such negotiations can often be frustrating – the world needs a Global Deal for Nature and People similar to the Paris Climate Agreement.

The science is very clear: we have a decade in which to stop and reverse the decline of nature, the negotiations need to reflect this sense of urgency.

Our own survival depends on it.

Sergiy Moroz, Policy Manager for Water and Biodiversity, EEB

Others showed concern about the timeframe, including EEB Member NABU’s Raphael Weyland.

Meanwhile, at the European level…

The European Commission’s biodiversity strategy, already delayed by a month, is being furiously debated between the Agriculture and Environment Directorate-Generals (DG AGRI and DG ENV), with cracks appearing around efforts to improve the ecological sustainability of EU farming.

Agriculture is the main driver of biodiversity loss in Europe.

According to POLITICO, DG AGRI has strongly criticised DG ENV’s “proposals to slash the use of pesticides and fertilizers, boost organic farming and dedicate more space to nature on farms.”

The EEB’s policy officer for agriculture, Celia Nyssens, was less than impressed:

Recently the EEB and their partners have issued calls for the upcoming biodiversity and Farm to Fork strategies, respectively, to have legally-binding nature restoration targets and to address the issue of intensive animal production.

The two strategies make up a part of the European Green Deal, described by the Commission as an “ambitious package of measures that should enable European citizens and businesses to benefit from sustainable green transition.”

The Commission’s Biodiversity Strategy and Farm to Fork (F2F) strategy are due to be unveiled on 25 March 2020.