Three years on from international agreements to halt biodiversity loss, European biodiversity remains under threat, warns Friends of the Earth Europe. Negotiators will meet in Montreal, Canada, this week, to assess progress towards halting global biodiversity loss, and towards achieving international biodiversity targets.
A comprehensive study, drawing on published reports and national ministries from 18 European countries, released today by Friends of the Earth Europe and CEEweb, shows that urgent action is needed if Europe is to meet its target to halt biodiversity loss by 2020.
Funding for biodiversity has stagnated, and Friends of the Earth Europe are calling on states to double spending by 2015, as agreed at the international biodiversity talks in Hyderabad last year.
Friedrich Wulf, biodiversity campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: “Biodiversity across Europe is under-funded and under threat. European governments continue harmful subsidies and are reluctant to act on saving biodiversity. ”
Harmful subsidies are still devastating biodiversity across Europe, according to the organisation, despite international agreement that they should be phased-out, or redirected into biodiversity-supportive subsidies. Only five countries in Europe have even started assessing the type and amount of these subsidies harmful to biodiversity. None have acted.
The European forestry sectors are also falling behind, with only Estonia maintaining a healthy level of undisturbed forests, almost half of the nation’s forest. Undisturbed forests are essential to the existence of sensitive animals such as the Capercaille or species that live from big trees and dead wood, such as woodpeckers, bats, beetles and fungi.
Habitats and protected areas crucial for maintaining biodiversity are also under pressure, with the majority across Europe in unfavourable conditions. Funding crucial to the management and protection of these sites is lacking in all states, despite established networks like Natura 2000 and the Emerald network.
Friends of the Earth Europe is calling on states to scale-up funding and action on biodiversity – to salvage hopes of meeting 2020 biodiversity targets, and halting biodiversity loss.