Protecting nature is a top priority for the European Union. The current degradation that has been caused needs to be reversed and the ecosystem needs to get back to normal. The new Biodiversity Strategy set by the EU for 2030 is a comprehensive, systematic, and rather ambitious long-term plan, aimed at protecting nature.
This strategy acts as a key pillar of the European Green Deal as well as EU leadership on all international actions taken for global goods and sustainable development goals. The objective is simple. Put Europe’s biodiversity to recovery by 2030. To do that, the strategy is focused on taking the existing legislation and implementing it, this time more effectively with new commitments, measures, governance mechanisms, and targets.
Some included actions to be taken:
- Transforming at least 30% of Europe's lands and seas into effectively managed protected areas.
- Restoring degraded ecosystems across the EU that are in a poor state, as well as reducing pressures on biodiversity.
- Enabling transformational change.
The importance of Biodiversity
Biodiversity includes all life on Earth. Animals, plants, micro-organisms, and all habitats. The ecosystems formed by all living organisms provide us with essentials such as food, medicines, materials recreation, and well-being.
When we damage the ecosystem we are damaging the very source of life on this planet. An ecosystem can be restored but once damaged, it will be a lot more fragile. At the same time capacity to deal with extreme events will also be limited.
On the other hand, perfectly working, well-balanced ecosystems can protect us against all potential unforeseen dangers that could emerge. Therefore it is important to preserve them and only use them in a sustainable manner. Properly maintained ecosystems offer us the best possible solutions to urgent challenges.
What does losing Biodiversity mean?
Losing biodiversity can be a rather big blow not only for Europe but for the world. Here are some simple examples of what might happen. We will be facing:
- a climate issue – destroying and damaging ecosystems and soils speeds up global warming while nature restoration mitigates climate change;
- a business issue – natural capital provides essential resources for industry and agriculture;
- a security and safety issue – loss of natural resources, especially in developing countries, can lead to conflicts and increases everywhere vulnerability to natural disasters;
- a food security issue – plants, animals including pollinators and soil organisms play a vital role in our food system;
- a health issue – the destruction of nature increases the risk and reduces our resilience to diseases. Nature also has a beneficial effect on peoples' mental health and welfare;
- an equity issue – loss of biodiversity hurts the poorest most of all, making inequalities worse;
- an intergenerational issue – we are robbing our descendants of the basis for a fulfilled life.
Over the past 40 years, we notice a 60% decrease in the wild species population. Adding to that, over one million species are now on the verge of extinction. The main drivers of this loss are the conversion of natural habitats into agricultural land and the expansion of urban areas. Other causes include the overexploitation of natural resources (such as overfishing and destructive farming practices), climate change, pollution, and invasive alien species.
Calls supporting the Biodiversity strategy
The European Union is prepared to support this strategy by using any means necessary. That being said we are already witnessing the very first call that focusing on helping implement it. Here are the most popular calls to assist the biodiversity strategy, according to the EUcalls.net list:
Programme: Horizon 2020
Title: Enhancing coordination between Member States' actions in the area of infrastructure research with a particular focus on biodiversity and ameliorating environmental impacts and full automated infrastructure upgrade and maintenance (RIA Research and Innovation action)
Programme: Horizon 2020
Title: Call for expressions of interest to compile a list of academic or scientific experts for the provision of independent external expertise in the fields of impact assessment, European added value, evaluation, foresight, and stress-testing
Programme: Public Contracts-Tenders
For more information on all the future actions to sustain biodiversity, you can take a look at the EU’s official website. It is important to stay up to date with all the latest information. This new strategy is going to create some amazing opportunities to fund projects that will help improve the current situation. This is a chance to help bring the environment back to perfect health, protect the ecosystems and our lives!