European Parliament calls for a biodiversity law with mandatory standards

By approving the text, the European Commission's strategy will be supported
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PHOTO/ARCHIVO  -   European Parliament calls for a biodiversity law with binding standards

The European Parliament on Wednesday called on the European Commission to propose a biodiversity law, similar to the European Climate Law, containing binding rules on the conservation and restoration of ecosystems.

This is one of the demands of the resolution, which was adopted on Wednesday with 515 votes in favour, 90 against and 86 abstentions, on the Biodiversity Strategy 2030 proposed by the Commission last year.

The main speaker of the resolution, Socialist European deputy César Luena, told Efe that the approval of the text supports the Commission's strategy, as it is considered "solid and ambitious", although seven more initiatives are included.

The first of these is the creation of a biodiversity law that establishes that the objectives of protecting and restoring nature are obligatory, similar to what the European Climate Law does with greenhouse gas emissions targets.

It is also proposed that the objectives of the Nature Restoration Plan, which will be presented at the end of this year, as announced by the EU executive, should also be compulsory, including a specific objective for the restoration of pollinators.

The proposal is for these rules to establish deadlines up to 2050, with intermediate steps in 2030, to achieve the preservation and conservation of 30% of European ecosystems.

"We are facing a planetary crisis", warned Luena, who stressed that this crisis has two aspects: climate and biodiversity.

Atalayar_Biodeversidad Parlamento Europeo
The European Parliament on Wednesday called on the European Commission for a biodiversity law, similar to the European Climate Law, containing binding rules on the conservation and restoration of ecosystems

The resolution therefore also proposes a "joint and coherent" long-term action plan on climate and biodiversity.

Another initiative is the creation of a common legislative framework for soil conservation, to be included in the Biodiversity Strategy, including a strategy to combat desertification.

It also calls for the creation of a "fundamental right to a healthy environment" to be incorporated into the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the creation of a "Green Erasmus", with the aim of getting students involved in projects to preserve ecosystems.

Maximum protection for forests

Finally, Members of the European Parliament, through the report, call for "the maximum possible protection" for forests.

The Rioja member of the European Parliament said that, in this area, "they support the European Commission's intentions" to protect and restore European forests "as the common heritage of the EU that they are".

However, Luena warned that the European Environment Agency points out that only 15% of European forest habitats are in a state of conservation.

"Forests are home to the majority of terrestrial biodiversity", argued the Socialist politician to Efe, who explained that, for this reason, they are reinforcing the "wake-up call" to prioritise the restoration and protection of forests.

In addition, Luena added that priority should be given to primary forests in the protection mechanisms, one of the points of the resolution that has given rise to most debate, due to "geographical and ideological issues".

Farmers must not be left back

The report's shadow rapporteur, the European deputy of Partido Popular Gabriel Mato, said in his speech during Monday's debate on the resolution that the Commission's strategy should include farmers and fishermen.

"Any strategy should involve the sectors that are fundamental to providing food for an ever-growing population and take into account, as well as environmental, economic and social aspects", he said.

Important for Spain

Luena also pointed out that Spain has "one of the highest levels of habitat protection in the EU", hence the importance of the Biodiversity Strategy and the resolution for the country.

"The more measures to protect nature, preserve biodiversity and restore natural habitats, the better for Spain", he said.