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Historical moment for Europe’s Nature – EU ministers approve landmark Nature Restoration Law 

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Early this week, the environment ministers from the 27 countries of the European Union (EU) met in Luxembourg to vote on the Nature Restoration Law – a groundbreaking new legislation that defines binding targets for the recovery of degraded habitats in all Member States. 

The leaders from most EU countries decided to approve the legal package, and thus maintained the EU as a leader in biodiversity conservation and kept our continent on the right side of history. The approval of the new EU nature restoration law is excellent news for nature conservation across the continent, for the benefit of everyone. 

Griffon Vulture Census 2023 Balkans Hristo Ivanov
© Hristo Ivanov

What is at stake? 

Under this new Law, all EU countries are required to present and implement a National Restoration Plan , with clear goals. These objectives must aim to restore at least 30% of terrestrial and coastal habitats, marine and freshwater that are in an unfavourable state of conservation by 2030, 60% by 2040 and 90% by 2050. EU Member States will also have to ensure that no significant deterioration occurs in the areas subject to restoration. 

This legal package aims to increase the biodiversity of agricultural systems (also benefiting agricultural production), reestablish the natural connectivity of rivers and the functions of floodplains (improving the water cycle), restore forest habitats (preventing fires), as well as to create more green spaces in urban areas (reducing heat island effects). Reversing the decline in populations of pollinating insects, on which our food systems and all agricultural production directly depend, is another priority of this legislation. The Law received widespread support not only from hundreds of international conservation and environmental NGOs, but also from many corporate sectors, from hunters, farmers, and scientists, thus showing that the recovery of nature is also definitely essential for the economy. 

A new era for biodiversity and conservation in Europe 

“The EU environment ministers have stood their ground and approved a very important piece of legislation,once again keeping Europe on the right side of history. The EU has some of the most solid nature conservation legislation in the world, and as a result, our continent has, on the whole, been able to keep and even restore some of our common biodiversity and natural assets. This legislation will give impetus and a solid framework to continue on this path.”

José Tavares, the Director of the Vulture Conservation Foundation’s (VCF) 

For years now, the VCF has been contributing, with all our vulture reintroduction projects, to the recovery of biodiversity in Europe, and we will continue to do so, restoring an essential ecosystem service – the scavenging guild, across our hills and mountains. 

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