Friday, May 30, 2008

EU biodiversity targets in development in jeopardy?

Environmental protection is one of the cross-cutting issues in EU development policy. According to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, biodiversity loss contributes directly or indirectly to health and food security.

While the European Commission praises its efforts in the fight to stop the loss of biodiversity, a new report by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) strongly criticizes the lack of progress by the EU to halt the decline of biodiversity by 2010.

The analysis looks at the progress made within the EU’s development cooperation with ACP, Asian and Latin American countries.

"Half way to the Millennium Development Goals, eight years since EU Member states and the European Commission made the commitment to halt biodiversity loss by 2010, biodiversity conservation and natural resources have still not been brought into the mainstream of EU development and funding."

The WWF calls on the EU Commission to:
  • increase funding for biodiversity along with other parts of EU aid
  • work with partner countries on sectoral budgets for the environment
  • develop sustainable beyond project sources of funding
  • participate environmental actors on the preparation process of country strategies
The paper concludes that

"[t]he weak and limited progress […] in the mainstreaming of biodiversity […] calls for a renewed high level political commitment to put the 2010 biodiversity target prominently on the EU external development agenda."

Experts on biodiversity recently discuss the issue at an international conference in Bonn that aims to achieve new commitments in the light of the 2002 UN convention on biodiversity.

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Please also visit the EU sites for more on sustainable development and biodiversity.

by Martin Behrens