In January 2010, the Commission presented a series of options for an EU biodiversity policy vision and target beyond 2010 (EC, 2010). Recognising the urgent need to reverse the trends of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, on 26 March 2010 the European Council endorsed the long-term biodiversity vision and the 2020 headline target adopted by the Environment Council on 15 March 2010 (European Council, 2010).
Unlike other EU policy areas, for example climate change, the complexity of biodiversity and ecosystems mean that their status cannot be expressed with a single measure or indicator. The Council therefore called on the Commission to define a limited number of ambitious, realistic, achievable and measurable sub-targets.
The EU 2010 Biodiversity Baseline provides facts and figures on the state and trends of the different biodiversity and ecosystem components. It thereby supports the EU in developing the post‑2010 sub‑targets and provides factual data for measuring and monitoring progress in the EU from 2011 to 2020. The baseline is not a target, but rather a reference point.
The main concern building the baseline was ensuring that the facts and figures are scientifically robust and validated or peer reviewed by Member States. It was a priority to make full use of data already reported pursuant to the Birds and the Habitats Directives and other relevant directives, as well as existing indicator sets such as SEBI 2010. Preference was given to data sets that are subject to continuing monitoring and reporting. What is known in 2010 must also be measured up to 2020.
The focus was on the EU-27 but several data sets extended to other geographical scopes. The most recent available data were used, meaning some variance in the time periods used for different indicators (as detailed in the baseline technical report to be published by the EEA in September 2010).