The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the need for protecting the environment. As part of a new strategy, the European Union has set out a long-term plan for the protection of ecosystems and nature.
In the action plan, the Commission says, “Nature is as important for our mental and physical wellbeing as it is for our society’s ability to cope with global change, health threats and disasters.”
“We need nature in our lives. Healthy and resilient societies depend on giving nature the space it needs. The recent COVID19 pandemic makes the need to protect and restore nature all the more urgent.”
The EU has set ambitious targets to deal with the impacts of climate change, forest fires, food insecurity or disease outbreaks, fighting illegal wildlife trade, and protecting nature.
A part of this strategy is to plant three billion trees across the 27 member states. Alongside this, it plans to limit the use of chemical pesticides to protect vital pollinators like bees.
In addition, the network of protected areas will be increased. The target is for 30% of European land and sea to be protected. Some of these areas will also be covered by “strict protection”, which is designed to protect areas with very high biodiversity.
The aim is to raise €20 billion a year in order to reach these targets by 2030. This would, it’s hoped, make society more resilient to future threats.
“Nature is vital for our physical and mental wellbeing, it filters our air and water, it regulates the climate and it pollinates our crops,” Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, said in a statement.
“But we are acting as if it didn’t matter, and losing it at an unprecedented rate”, she added.
Detailed, legally binding targets for nature restoration and protection won’t be outlined until 2021. However, once these have been finalised, the EU plans to be in a world-leading position to combat the global, highly damaging loss of biodiversity.
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