MEPs today voted on concrete steps to protect and restore biodiversity in Europe over the next 10 years as a matter of urgency.
In Europe, some 25% of all species are threatened with extinction and worldwide an estimated 75% of fish stocks are over-exploited or significantly depleted. Around 75% of the genetic diversity of agricultural crops has been lost worldwide since 1990.
Catherine Bearder, who authored an opinion on the report on behalf of the Parliament's regional development committee said:
"The loss of biodiversity is happening right under our noses. But too many people are choosing not to listen and not to see that nature is dying all around us.
"There will be 30% fewer species existing when our grandchildren grow up. We owe it to them to stop this silent massacre and take actions now to protect and restore species and habitats."
For the EU biodiversity strategy for 2020 to be successful the main challenge will be to integrate biodiversity in all other relevant policy fields.
Ms Bearder added:
"It's the right time to push biodiversity up the political agenda as all major European policies in the field of agriculture, fishing, regional development, transport and energy are currently being reviewed. The Commission must act now with the full support of the Parliament."
The report on the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 can be found here:
In May 2011, the Commission presented an EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 entitled "Our life insurance, our natural capital". The Strategy sets out a headline target, six specific targets and a set of actions. The overall target is:
"Halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020, and restoring them in so far as feasible, while stepping up the EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss."
The six targets of the Strategy are:
1) Protect and restore threatened species
2) Restore ecosystems and their services
3) Ensure the sustainability of agriculture and forestry e.g. by maximising areas covered by biodiversity-related measures under the CAP
4) Ensure sustainable fisheries by achieving Maximum Sustainable Yield by 2015
5) Identify and control the spread of invasive alien species
6) Step up the EU's contribution to averting global biodiversity loss.
The strategy underlines the need to mainstream biodiversity in all relevant EU policy areas, in particular the CAP, the CFP and regional policies. The current reform proposals for the CAP and the CFP are supposed to include the actions mentioned in the biodiversity strategy.
The Strategy has been endorsed by the Council; however in its Conclusions on Biodiversity from December the Council failed completely to address the crucial cross-sectoral issues such as the greening of the CAP and fisheries policy in any meaningful way. Many Member States have also raised concerns about the lack of adequate funding to meet the agreed targets.