Progress towards the European 2010 biodiversity target

The 2010 target and beyond — where does Europe stand?

As the first indicator-based assessment of progress towards the European target of halting biodiversity loss by 2010, this report serves two purposes. First, it takes stock of the state of biodiversity and its loss in Europe based on the most recent data available. Second, it functions as a bridge to a comprehensive assessment of the 2010 target to be done in 2010. As such, the indicators in this report do not only show what is currently known. They also show where information is missing and what more needs to be measured and examined to enable a comprehensive assessment in 2010.

The target of halting biodiversity loss in Europe by 2010 will not be achieved. The assessment shows that European biodiversity continues to be under serious pressure and that the policy response, although successful in some areas, is not yet adequate to halt the general decline. Progress has been made in reducing some pressures through specific legislation on atmospheric emissions, freshwater quality and waste water treatment. Pressures from the agricultural sector have been addressed directly by reducing nitrogen losses and indirectly by increasing organic farming, with varying success. Fisheries, however, remains a problematic sector needing wider recognition of sustainability issues.

The impacts of current climate change on biodiversity are just emerging, but the wider ecosystem implications have not yet been fully recognised. Many ecosystems have been degraded thereby reducing their capacity to respond to future shocks such as the effects of climate change.

Halting biodiversity loss requires policy action in many areas and behavioural changes in homes and industry to make positive impacts.

The next major assessment on the basis of the indicators will be prepared for publication late in 2010. It will contain updated data for all indicators where they are available and will, in addition, explore the following issues in more detail:

• the state of biodiversity;
• the marine environment;
• target values and baselines for each indicator;
• responses — what has worked and what has not;
• the global impact of Europe and its biodiversity policies.

The next assessment on the basis of the SEBI 2010 indicators will be the final assessment of progress towards the current '2010 target' Discussions on a new policy target post 2010 are already under way.

The new target(s) should aim to be specific, measurable, ambitious, realistic, time-bound and developed on the basis of robust scientific evidence. They will also most likely take a more broad overall perspective, recognising the importance of biodiversity for our green infrastructure and the value of ecosystem services to society.

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