The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 is a key element of the European Green Deal with the aim to recover Europe’s biodiversity by 2030. The Biodiversity Strategy outlines an EU Nature Restauration Plan (European Commission 2020)[i] to restore damaged ecosystems and ensure their sustainable management. However, A central element of this plan is to create legally binding EU nature restauration targets to restore degraded ecosystems looking at the possibility of an EU-wide methodology.
EU Biodiversity Strategy To Avoid a Net Loss of Biodiversity and Ecosystem
To avoid a net loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, damages resulting from human activities need to be balanced by at least equivalent gains (European Commission)[ii]. However, there is currently no requirement to compensate for unavoidable impacts on species and habitats that are not covered by national nature legislation. This means biodiversity compensation takes place only when it is legally required.
Objective of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030
The general objective of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 is to restore degraded ecosystems. However, there is an acknowledgment that the previous efforts to restore ecosystems in the EU have been insufficient. Therefore, the European Commission is currently assessing policy options for, and impacts of, common legislation to enforce the set Restauration targets (European Commission 2020)[iii]. One of the options to be analyzed is the most effective measures to achieve the legally binding targets and the provision of guidance and finance mechanisms to support them.
On the other hand, it is probably so that public financing cannot cover all conservation needs. The biodiversity financing gap is so large that new sources and methods of financing should be investigated and tested.
Current Spending on Biodiversity
Current spending on biodiversity conservation is between USD 124 and USD 143 billion per year compared to the estimated biodiversity protection need of between USD 722 and USD 967 billion per year, representing 0,7 – 1% of global GDP in 2019 (Deutz et al. 2020)[i]. Similarly, as shown in the figure below, Deutz et al. identify several proposed mechanisms and their estimated financing needs by 2030.
Figure 1. Estimate of growth in financing resulting from scaling up proposed mechanisms by 2030. (in 2019 USD billion per year). (Deutz et al. 2020)[ii]
Nature-based solutions and carbon markets, green financial products, biodiversity offsets, philanthropy and conservation NGOs are some of the proposed mechanisms that are likely to be financed partly or fully by businesses and financial institutions.
[i] Deutz, A., Heal, G. M., Niu, R., Swanson, E., Townshend, T., Zhu, L., Delmar, A., Meghji, A., Sethi, S. A., and Tobin- de la Puente, J. 2020. Financing Nature: Closing the global biodiversity financing gap. The Paulson Institute, The Nature Conservancy, and the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability. (p 61-61)
[ii] Deutz, A., Heal, G. M., Niu, R., Swanson, E., Townshend, T., Zhu, L., Delmar, A., Meghji, A., Sethi, S. A., and Tobin- de la Puente, J. 2020. Financing Nature: Closing the global biodiversity financing gap. The Paulson Institute, The Nature Conservancy, and the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability. (p 64-64)
[i] European Commission, Communication for the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, Bringing nature back into our lives. 2020. THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 Bringing nature back into our lives.
[iii] European Commission, Inception Impact Assessment, EU nature restoration targets. 2020. (p 1-3) Biodiversity, on which we all depend, is disappearing at an unprecedented rate. This initiative is one of the key measures announced in the EU’s 2030 Biodiversity Strategy.