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European Commission Biodiversity and Nature Conservation in the EU today – Business & Biodiversity Alexandra Vakrou, EC, DG Environment IEF European Roundtable.

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Presentation on theme: "European Commission Biodiversity and Nature Conservation in the EU today – Business & Biodiversity Alexandra Vakrou, EC, DG Environment IEF European Roundtable."— Presentation transcript:

1 European Commission Biodiversity and Nature Conservation in the EU today – Business & Biodiversity Alexandra Vakrou, EC, DG Environment IEF European Roundtable ‘Addressing Industry’s Impacts on Biodiversity” 8 June 2006

2 European Commission Overview of presentation n EU policy context for Biodiversity and nature protection n The NATURA 2000 network n Business and Biodiversity n Future priorities

3 European Commission Nature Protection & Conservation

4 European Commission What is happening to biodiversity in Europe ? n Major habitats under threat z wetlands in north & west Europe have been reduced by 60% in recent decades n Species also in decline z 64 % endemic plants extinct in Europe z 45 % of Europe’s butterflies threatened z 38% of Europe’s birds threatened

5 European Commission Key Nature & Biodiversity Aims under the 6 th EAP n Halt biodiversity decline by 2010 n Protect / restore nature & biodiversity from damaging pollution and activities n Conservation of marine, coasts & wetlands n Species & Habitat conservation including the avoidance of habitat fragmentation n Promote sustainable use of Soils

6 European Commission Main provisions of the Birds and Habitats Directives BIRDS DIR. All bird species protected No priority bird species (cf. indicative list for Life-Nature) EU territory treated as a whole Habitat conservation measures (incl. SPAs in NATURA 2000) Regulated hunting and trade limited to a few species 1979 HABITATS DIR. Species/habitats of EU interest protected Priority habitats/species Biogeographical regions Site protection measures (SACs) in NATURA 2000 Species protection and management 1992

7 European Commission BIRDS AND HABITATS DIRECTIVES A COMBINATION OF SPECIES AND OF HABITATS PROTECTION The NATURA 2000 network of sites l Very large overall surface area has been proposed l For Habitats Directive ~ 17 % of EU-15 territory l For Birds Directive ~ 9 % of EU-15 territory

8 European Commission Natura 2000 Sites

9 European Commission BAROMETER


11 How are the Natura 2000 sites to be managed ? n This remains the responsibility of the Member States - Subsidiarity n Natura 2000 are not ‘strict Nature Reserves’ where human activities are excluded n emphasis on Sustainable Management (ecologically, economically and socially) n management plans for the sites or species are a useful tool

12 European Commission ARE DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS & ACTIVITIES ALLOWED INTO NATURA 2000 SITES? n New activities are not ‘a priori’ forbidden n Development projects are treated on a case- by-case basis n Evaluation and decision procedure n Supplementary protection measures for priority habitats sometimes is needed n Documents/guidelines on Article 6 provisions n Encouragement of MS to create similar guidelines adapted to national conditions/laws

13 European Commission Dealing with plans and projects (Art. 6.3/4 Habitats Directive, simplified) Possible negative impact on Natura 2000 site? Nature impact assessment yes If negative Overriding public interest? If yes Compensation measures - Commission opinion (if priority interest) Alternatives?If no

14 European Commission Studies on the effects of plan/project If there are negative impacts (for ex. if the impact causes damages) the Member States accept the project only if: n No other alternative n reasons of major overriding public interest (including social/economic) n compensatory measures are taken When the site hosts priority habitats and/or species, only following reasons can apply: n reasons of public health or security or n major benefits for environment, or n following an opinion of the Commission, other reasons of major overriding public interest

15 European Commission Dealing with plans and projects New Member States: Art.6.(2/3/4) apply from accession onwards Specific problems remain Problems: – –no or inappropriate nature impact assessments – –negative results of assessments not respected – –no alternatives considered – –no or inadequate mitigation / compensation measures – –no designation or nomination of a qualifying site: provisions apply nevertheless (SPAs: even stricter rules!)

16 European Commission Managing NATURA 2000 sites: The provisions of Article 6 of the ‘Habitats’ Directive nature/nature_conservation/eu_ nature_legislation/specific_articl es/art6/pdf/art6_en.pdf

17 European Commission The new Biodiversity Communication HALTING THE LOSS OF BIODIVERSITY BY 2010 – AND BEYOND Sustaining ecosystem services for human well-being COM(2006) 216 final Adopted by Commission on 22.05.2006

18 European Commission Business and Biodiversity Impacts exist (direct or indirect) Sometimes no possibility to avoid impacts Cumulative effects Increased Risks by operations But also LIABILITY

19 European Commission How industry’s impacts can be addressed? n Proactive measures n Better planning, design of projects/operations n New technological solutions /innovations n Mitigation n Strengthening implementation of environmental policies by all stakeholders n But also a need to change mentality of companies n Building partnerships, transferring best practices

20 European Commission The role of the European Commission l Tight cooperation with Member States and stakeholders l Building partnerships with stakeholders and strengthening communication (one of the 4 key priorities in the new Biodiversity Communication) l Building on a strong public education, awareness by information & communication on Natura 200 (for ex. Newsletter, promotion of exchanges of good practices between Member States and operators in the fields of biodiversity protection and nature management l Ensuring compliance of proposed actions and operations with Community environmental legislation

21 European Commission Priorities for the Future on Business and Biodiversity  Follow-up of the Green Week 2006 on Biodiversity  Development of further dialogue between stakeholders and building partnerships  Working for the development of best practices documents for sharing experiences  Increasing Communication efforts and provide explanations of the objectives of the Biodiversity Communication and the Nature Directives and guidance  ‘Supporting Business and Biodiversity’ contract to promote in a pilot phase pro-biodiversity projects in co-operation with major Banks

22 European Commission HOMEPAGE

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