Brussels, March 15 – Friends of the Earth Europe warmly welcomes the ambitious targets on biodiversity policy after 2010 announced at today's Environment Council, which it says are major steps towards saving biological diversity at the European and global level. The EU has adopted the ambitious target of "halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020, and restoring them in so far as feasible" and also of "stepping up the EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss" by 2020.
The conclusions underline the need to integrate this headline target into the upcoming overall EU 2020 strategy, which will be discussed at the EU Spring Council meeting on March 25/26th. In the draft of this strategy published by the Commission, this important target is still completely missing.
Friedrich Wulf, biodiversity campaigner said: "Today's decisions reflect the urgent need to tackle biodiversity loss, and Friends of the Earth urges the EU to take the next step at the EU Spring Council and to integrate today's headline target into the overall EU 2020 strategy. The integration of biodiversity issues into other policies is essential for stopping the loss of species and habitats."
Friends of the Earth Europe also urges the strengthening of the EU's position on access and benefit sharing (ABS), which is a core element of the Convention on Biological Diversity. While the Council conclusions call for binding regulations on how to access genetic resources, it does not ask for any such binding regulations for the sharing of the benefits arising from the use of these resources. So, while the industrialised nations could obtain the right to extract and use plants and animals from other countries, there would be no binding right for the countries of origin to be compensated for preserving and safeguarding their diversity. This would be a clear case of north-south global injustice and mean the institutionalisation of bio-piracy.