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European 2020 Biodiversity Strategy to Contribute to Green Growth

3 May 2011: The European Commission has published a strategy for the EU to protect and improve the state of Europe's biodiversity and contribute to the 2020 global biodiversity targets with a view to contributing to the green economy, and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The strategy, contained in the Commission Communication titled “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020,” is aimed at reversing biodiversity loss and speeding up the EU's transition towards a resource-efficient and green economy. As an integral part of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the biodiversity strategy is expected to contribute to: the EU's resource efficiency objectives, by ensuring that Europe's natural capital is managed sustainably; and climate change mitigation and adaptation goals, by improving the resilience of ecosystems and the services they provide. The strategy is thus considered a contribution to the green economy, in line with EU priorities for the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20).

The strategy is specifically expected to contribute to: a more resource efficient economy, by conserving and enhancing the EU's natural resource base and using its resources sustainably, thereby reducing its dependence on natural resources from outside Europe; a more climate-resilient, low-carbon economy, by adopting ecosystem-based approaches to climate change mitigation and adaptation as cost-effective alternatives to technological solutions, while delivering multiple benefits beyond biodiversity conservation; leadership in research and innovation, by building on the long-term availability and diversity of natural assets, and particularly genetic diversity, as the main source of innovation for the medical and cosmetics industries, as well as on the innovation potential of ecosystem restoration and green infrastructure; and the creation of new employment and business opportunities, by supporting nature-based innovation and action to restore ecosystems and conserve biodiversity.

The strategy builds on the commitments made by EU leaders in March 2010 on halting the loss of biodiversity in the EU by 2020 and protecting, valuing and restoring EU biodiversity and ecosystem services by 2050. It is also a response to the global commitments made at the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), held in Nagoya, Japan, in October 2010. The strategy targets and actions proposed by the European Commission need to be endorsed by the European Parliament and the Council of EU ministers for the environment. [EU Press Release] [Publication: Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020]