Conference on the EU Action Plan for nature
On 6 June 2017 the European Commission, in cooperation with the Committee of the Regions, held a conference to officially present the Action Plan for nature, people and economy to relevant authorities and stakeholders.
In April this year the European Commission published its Communication on the Action Plan for nature, people and economy, which comes as a follow up to the comprehensive evaluation of the Nature Directives launched by the Commission in the form of a ’Fitness Check’ in 2014. The Fitness Check found that, as part of broader EU biodiversity policy, the Nature Directives are fit for purpose, but that achieving their objectives and realising their full potential will depend upon substantially improving their implementation. The Action Plan should improve the practical implementation of the Nature Directives and help us move closer to stopping the loss of biodiversity and achieving the targets of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020.
The conference followed up on one of the actions (13) from the Action Plan. It was well attended by representatives of all sectors identified as important partners in implementing the different actions, and the Action Plan was positively received by everyone.
The Natura 2000 Biogeographical Process is integral to the Action Plan. In particular, Action 6 of the Action Plan reflects this with the explicit aim being to bring together public authorities and stakeholders from different Member States at the biogeographical region level to address common challenges, including on cross-border issues. (ECNC leads the consortium of partners that support the EC in the development and implementation of the Process.)
The main message of the conference was nicely summarised by the First Vice-President of the European Commission, Mr Frans Timmermans:
‘The biggest challenge our generation and our kids’ generation face is that we now have to decrease the burden we put on Mother Earth. If we do not succeed in decreasing that burden, Mother Earth will not be able to sustain us. . . . The burden is on us to prove that you can have a highly sophisticated society with high levels of social protection and still decrease the burden we put on our natural resources. . . . The successful economy and society of the future is a society that does not deplete our natural resources and that is in balance, in harmony, with its natural environment.‘
More information about the conference, including a video recording, can be found here.