SHORT INFO: Mid-term review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020

What’s it about in short: The mid-term review of the EU Bio­di­ver­sity Strat­egy to 2020 describes progress made in imple­ment­ing the actions and achiev­ing the tar­gets set out in the strat­egy adopted in 2011. The report demon­strates that action on the ground, sup­ported by ade­quate financ­ing, can pro­tect and restore nature and the ben­e­fits it provides.

When was it released: Octo­ber 2, 2015

By whom: Euro­pean Commission

More info: and

Short extract:

Press release: Pro­tect­ing Europe’s nature: more ambi­tion needed to halt bio­di­ver­sity loss by 2020

The mid-term review of EU bio­di­ver­sity strat­egy shows progress in many areas, but high­lights the need for greater effort by Mem­ber States on imple­men­ta­tion to halt bio­di­ver­sity loss by 2020.

The mid-term review of the EU Bio­di­ver­sity Strat­egy assesses whether the EU is on track to achieve the objec­tive of halt­ing bio­di­ver­sity loss by 2020. The results show progress in many areas, but high­light the need for much greater effort to deliver com­mit­ments on imple­men­ta­tion by Mem­ber States. Nature’s capac­ity to clean the air and water, to pol­li­nate crops and to limit the impacts of cat­a­stro­phes such as flood­ing is being com­pro­mised, with poten­tially sig­nif­i­cant unfore­seen costs to soci­ety and our econ­omy. An EU-wide opin­ion poll, also pub­lished today, con­firms that the major­ity of Euro­peans are con­cerned about the effects of bio­di­ver­sity loss and recog­nise the neg­a­tive impact this can have on human health and well­be­ing, and ulti­mately on our long-term eco­nomic development.

The EU adopted a Strat­egy to stop this loss of bio­di­ver­sity by 2020. Today’s assess­ment, which comes mid­way through the strat­egy, high­lights that much more needs to be done on the ground to trans­late the EU’s poli­cies into action. Firstly, EU nature leg­is­la­tion needs to be bet­ter imple­mented by Mem­ber States. More than three quar­ters of the impor­tant nat­ural habi­tats in the EU are now in an unfavourable state, and many species are threat­ened with extinc­tion. Halt­ing bio­di­ver­sity loss will also depend on how effec­tively bio­di­ver­sity con­cerns are inte­grated into agri­cul­ture, forestry, fish­eries, regional devel­op­ment and trade poli­cies. The reformed Com­mon Agri­cul­tural Pol­icy pro­vides oppor­tu­ni­ties for enhanced inte­gra­tion of bio­di­ver­sity con­cerns, but it will be the extent to which Mem­ber States put in place the mea­sures, nation­ally, that will deter­mine the suc­cess of the CAP. Ulti­mately, our nat­ural cap­i­tal needs to be recog­nised and appre­ci­ated, not only within the lim­i­ta­tions of our pro­tected areas, but more exten­sively through­out our lands and seas. The Com­mis­sion is cur­rently under­tak­ing a fit­ness check of the EU Birds and Habi­tats Direc­tives to assess whether it is achiev­ing its valu­able objec­tives in the most effi­cient way.

Euro­pean Com­mis­sioner for Envi­ron­ment, Mar­itime Affairs and Fish­eries, Kar­menu Vella, said: “There are plenty of lessons to be drawn from this report – some good progress, and good exam­ples to be emu­lated, but much more work is needed to close the gaps and reach our bio­di­ver­sity tar­gets by 2020. There is no room for com­pla­cency – los­ing bio­di­ver­sity means los­ing our life-support sys­tem. We can’t afford that, and nei­ther can our econ­omy.”

Restor­ing nat­ural habi­tats and build­ing green infra­struc­ture remains a chal­lenge for Europe. The EU Green Infra­struc­ture Strat­egy – once imple­mented – should deliver mul­ti­ple ben­e­fits across a range of sec­tors includ­ing agri­cul­ture, forestry and fish­eries. Inva­sive alien species are also one of the fastest grow­ing threats to bio­di­ver­sity in Europe, caus­ing sig­nif­i­cant dam­age to agri­cul­ture, forestry and fish­eries, cost­ing the EU at least EUR 12 bil­lion a year. A new EU Reg­u­la­tion has entered into force to fight the spread of inva­sive alien species and work is under­way to estab­lish a list of inva­sive species of EU con­cern by early 2016.

On the global scale, the EU greatly con­tributes to halt­ing bio­di­ver­sity loss. Together with its Mem­ber States, it is the biggest finan­cial donor for bio­di­ver­sity con­ser­va­tion. The EU has taken ini­tial steps to reduce indi­rect dri­vers of bio­di­ver­sity loss, includ­ing wildlife trade, ille­gal fish­ing and to inte­grate bio­di­ver­sity into its trade agree­ments. The new global Agenda 2030 for Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment reit­er­ates the need to deliver on global com­mit­ments in this area.

The pub­li­ca­tion of this mid-term review coin­cides with that of a Euro­barom­e­ter sur­vey show­ing the con­cerns expressed by Euro­peans with regard to the cur­rent trends on bio­di­ver­sity. At least three quar­ters of Euro­peans think there are seri­ous threats to ani­mals, plants and ecosys­tems at a national, Euro­pean and global level, and more than half think they will be per­son­ally affected by bio­di­ver­sity loss.


The EU bio­di­ver­sity strat­egy to 2020 aims to halt bio­di­ver­sity loss and the degra­da­tion of ecosys­tem ser­vices, restore them to the extent pos­si­ble by 2020, and help avert global bio­di­ver­sity loss. It sets tar­gets in six main areas: the full imple­men­ta­tion of EU nature leg­is­la­tion; main­tain­ing and restor­ing ecosys­tems and their ser­vices; more sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture, forestry and fish­eries; tighter con­trols on inva­sive alien species, and a big­ger EU con­tri­bu­tion to avert­ing global bio­di­ver­sity loss. The EU Strat­egy empha­sises the need to take full account of the eco­nomic and social ben­e­fits pro­vided by nature con­tri­bu­tion and to inte­grate these ben­e­fits into report­ing and account­ing sys­tems. The Strat­egy also aims at deliv­er­ing on global bio­di­ver­sity com­mit­ments under the Con­ven­tion on Bio­log­i­cal Diver­sity and con­tributes to the new global 2030 Agenda for Sus­tain­able Development.

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