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  • Writer's pictureJomec

EU adopts landmark law “Nature Restoration Law” at plenary session of EU Parliament on 14th June


【Highlights】

The EU Parliament voted to adopt the Nature Restoration Law on 14 June 2024 at a plenary session of the EU Parliament in Luxembourg, and the Council of the EU formally adopted the Act on 17 June. As the first continent-wide, comprehensive law of its kind, the Nature Restoration Law covers the whole continent and is an important part of the EU's biodiversity strategy. The law aims to take measures to restore at least 20% of the EU's land and sea areas by 2030 and all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050. Furthermore, it sets specific, legally binding targets and obligations for the natural recovery of terrestrial, marine, freshwater, forest, agricultural and urban ecosystems. Specific measures include the protection of pollinators and grassland butterflies, the protection of urban green spaces and the planting of at least 3 billion additional trees by 2030 across the EU.



Alain Maron, Minister for Climate Transition, Environment, Energy and Participatory Democracy of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region mentioned


The EU has seized a unique opportunity to reverse biodiversity loss and to open this rapidly closing window, securing a liveable future for the generations to come. Today we also agreed on three key EU directives for circular economy and soil health in the EU: we showed our commitment to a green transition, by protecting our consumers from greenwashing, targeting food and textile waste and protecting our soils from degradation. The EU is steadily moving forward with its environmental and climate objectives and the target of achieving climate neutrality in the EU by 2050.

【Legal Analysis of Nature Restoration Law】

-   The State of Nature Today

Nature in the EU is severely declining. Species populations and the natural areas they inhabit are shrinking and degrading, leading to serious consequences for people and the planet.

 

80%

of habitats are in poor condition

10%

of bee and butterfly species risk extinction

70%

of soils are in an unhealthy condition

 

-   The Importance of Restoring Nature

Nature depends on essential interrelations between species and their habitats. It is a fine balance which ensures a healthy and well-functioning natural environment.  Moreover, nature is the foundation of the world’s economy. Over half of global GDP is dependent on materials and services that are delivered by ecosystems. For example, raw materials are key for industry and construction, and genetic resources are needed in farming and medicine. Restoring nature means supporting the recovery of degraded or destroyed ecosystems by improving their structure and functions, with the overall goal of improving resilience and biodiversity in nature. Healthy ecosystems can ensure, among other things: increased agricultural productivity; greater resilience to climate change; improved biodiversity; reduced risk of floods, droughts and heat waves.


-   The EU Nature Restoration Rules

The nature restoration law requires EU countries to develop national restoration plans. These plans should define the restoration measures required to meet the binding targets set in the law and specify the total area to be restored, as well as a timeline. The restoration plans should cover the period up to 2050. The measures should be aligned with other relevant legislation, such as rules on nature protection, renewable energy and agriculture.


Examples of restoration measures include: removing non-native plants on grasslands, wetlands and in forests; rewetting drained peatlands; improving connectivity between habitats; stopping or reducing the use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers; promoting wilderness preservation. The proposed regulation requires the Commission to review and assess the application of the rules and their impacts on the agricultural, fisheries and forestry sectors, as well as its wider socio-economic effects in 2033.


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