We approve a law for the future of European nature

Making nature conservation and habitat restoration a legal obligation: this is the aim of the new proposal for the European Regulatory Nature Restoration Act. An ambitious proposal, but crucial to its realization European Green Deal intangible. there Nature’s Restoration Act In fact, it aims to use the legislative tool to restore degraded ecosystems, to stop the loss of biodiversity and to guarantee the ecosystem services derived from it for future generations.

The suggestion follows the logical thread of European Strategy 2030 for Biodiversity. By 2030, the aim is to implement recovery measures on at least 20% of European land and sea, ideally to redevelop all degraded ecosystems by 2050. In particular, the law clearly refers to river, forest, urban and agricultural ecosystems: That is, the aim is to reduce barriers to connecting rivers, and to increase carbon stocks through more careful management of forests, to make them more sustainable. Hunting, to reduce the use of pesticides in agricultural settings. The goal is to increase urban green spaces and diversify cultivated areas, in order to favor butterflies, pollinate insects and birds (important biomarkers of environmental quality) as well as mineralize soils that are now unproductive due to the indiscriminate use of fertilizers and intensive monoculture.

there Nature’s Restoration Act It was born out of a long consultative phase between the European Commission for the Environment and its various stakeholders, following the publication in 2021 of the European Biodiversity Strategy 2030. The previous strategy has achieved modest results: Up to 81% of European habitats are in degradation, and only 27% of plant and animal species have favorable conservation status. European nature can currently count on legislative support for two essential tools: the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive, which protect more than 460 species of wild birds, 1,389 species of animals and plants and 233 habitats considered important to society. Countries must commit to a favorable conservation status for the species and habitats included, which means ensuring that current and future conditions exist for the species or habitat to be in good health, with populations stable or increasing.

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there Nature’s Restoration Act It moves along the lines of these two directives, but adds to the protection a commitment to restore what has been compromised. The verdict comes on July 12: the European Parliament will in fact be called to vote to approve the proposed regulation, but the outcome is far from clear. The draft was actually published by the European Union Environment Directorate on June 22, 2022But it was from the beginning severe conflict by right-wing advocates of the European People’s Party (EPP), who see this as a serious threat to the development of a communal agrarian economy, which they say will force farmers to give up productive land, with consequent increase in costs and difficulties in distribution chains, with an end result to threaten food security. The European People’s Party has introduced more than 2,000 amendments to the law, and has the support of other conservative parties such as Identity and Democracy (ID), and the Conservative Party and European Reform (ECR). Parliament’s Fisheries and Agriculture Committees also spoke against Nature’s Restoration Act. On the other hand, environmental non-governmental organizations, the European left, universities and research centers dealing with nature, as well as many companies, favor the adoption of the new regulation. On 15 June, the vote in the Environment Committee of the European Parliament ended in a tie, with 44 in favor and 44 against. The result was exactly the same as the votes of June 27. A tie that barred on the one hand rejected the law the right hoped for, but still left one holding their breath to approve it.

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In Italy , Statement of the Law of Nature Restorationan initiative that has so far received support from more than 150 societies, 4,000 scientists, dozens of large corporations and more than a million signatures of individual citizens (Here is the membership form). “there Nature’s Restoration Act It is truly an opportunity that cannot be missed. For all this, we turn to the European Parliament and to all the institutional and political players in the field, and ask them to support convincingly agreeing to Nature’s Restoration Act What an extraordinary opportunity to revitalize European nature and societies,” reads the statement. “The Nature Restoration Act is the greatest opportunity to renew Europe’s nature and ensure the sustainability, future and well-being of its citizens.[…] In addition to the benefits of biodiversity, many other benefits have been added, which are no less important: contribution to the climate crisis in terms of adaptation and mitigation, a healthier territory and therefore less vulnerable to floods, droughts and other disasters, and improved nature conservation. Capital and the ecosystem services it produces, make a significant contribution to the quality of life and the psychophysical health of citizens.”

If the regulation is approved, member states will have a maximum of two years to submit national restoration plans to the committee, which will include habitat restoration strategies and monitoring plans to check progress. Instead, the EEA will collect data and structure guidelines to support implementation of the regulation.

Voting for an environmental redevelopment law means giving a strong signal of willingness to move from beautiful words to action. The meager results of the Global Strategy for Biodiversity and the European Plan show that it is not enough to write declarations of intent on paper to achieve the targets. As we speak or write about the need to halt biodiversity loss and combat climate change, time passes and the situation deteriorates. The functioning of ecosystems ensures us the services on which our very existence depends. If we continue to be driven by greed and Everything is spot on, we will continue to postpone the changes needed to ensure a sustainable life for future generations, as well as run after emergencies, exasperated in the face of another environmental catastrophe than scientists have declared, trying to plug holes in a sieve. The time has come for courageous decisions, which may in the short term lead to an obvious decline in profits, but which will guarantee a future for us and the other living beings who share this planet with us.

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