Biodiversity beyond 2010: deciding the way ahead
World leaders and policymakers are gathering at a major conference in Japan to debate how to halt global biodiversity loss. At this 10th Conference of the Parties (COP-10), the European Environment Agency is presenting its assessments on Europe’s biodiversity, including its new report on the EU 2010 Biodiversity Baseline.
The European Union made a commitment in 2001 to halt biodiversity loss on its territory by 2010. The following year, hundreds of countries, signatories to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), committed themselves to reduce biodiversity loss significantly in the world by 2010. It is now clear that both targets have been missed.
The 10th Conference of the Parties (COP-10) to the CBD opened its doors today in Nagoya, Japan, where the international community, including the EU, will be striving to agree on a post-2010 policy framework. The global discussions in Nagoya and the EU position in these negotiations will play a key role in the new EU biodiversity strategy, expected to be finalised by the end of 2010.
Complementing the EEA's recently published report 'Assessing biodiversity in Europe' and the short-assessment series '10 messages for 2010', the EU 2010 Biodiversity Baseline provides policymakers with a starting point for measuring the state of biodiversity within the EU and unveiling major information gaps. The baseline supports the EU in developing the post‑2010 sub‑targets and provides data for measuring and monitoring progress in the EU from 2011 to 2020. After 2010, regular updates of these data will provide a clear historical record of progress.
- Species extinction in the EU is not occurring nearly as rapidly as in other regions and continents, but the percentage of species threatened with extinction still remains high. Among others, 25 % of marine mammals and 15 % of terrestrial mammals, 22 % of amphibians and 21 % of reptiles are threatened with extinction.
- Many fishery resources are still not being managed sustainably. Around 46 % of assessed European stocks fall outside safe biological limits and 88 % of species are overfished.
- Habitat fragmentation, degradation and destruction due to land-use change constitute the main pressures and drivers causing biodiversity loss. Corine Land Cover inventory indicates that areas of extensive agriculture, grasslands and wetlands are continuing to decline across Europe.
- Europe cannot meet its consumption demands from within its own borders and the gap between demand and production capacity has grown steadily since 1960.
- The impacts of changing climate are just beginning to emerge and the wider ecosystem implications have not yet been fully recognised. However, many ecosystems have been degraded, thereby reducing their capacity to respond to future shocks such as the effects of climate change.
- The establishment of the Natura 2000 network has progressed well in the terrestrial environment, with nearly 18 % of EU land designated. In the marine environment, the progress remains limited.
- EU legislation has helped reduce pressure on biodiversity. For example, acidification and eutrophication from excessive nitrogen accumulation are declining and nitrogen balances of farmlands are decreasing; water quality has improved in fresh waters, the state of freshwater systems is improving generally and the marine environment is stable.