How can policymakers bolster the European Green Deal as the way forward after the coronavirus crisis? And what must be done to ensure that the sustainable use of nature is an integral part of the solution?
On 25 March, experts met online for a Friends of Europe debate on ‘2020: Aligning biodiversity and climate action’ to exchange views on what the Biodiversity Strategy 2030 of the European Commission should entail and what nature-based solutions can mean for Europe.
There was agreement on making investment efforts focus on biodiversity and linking up stimulus packages with the climate change and biodiversity agenda as a way to reboot the economy. Panellists also saw great use for satellite data to inform policymaking and increase enforcement.
With the IUCN Congress in Marseille, the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon and COP15 in Kunming, 2020 will be a crucial year for the implementation of the recommendations of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Assessment. In 2020, national plans for the conservation and restoration of ecosystems will be rolled out and the funding we need to protect nature at a global scale needs to be found. Through the collection and sharing of data, space programmes can help reduce climate risks while protecting biodiversity. Europe should ensure that its best tools are deployed at scale to prevent the collapse of the natural world.
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Nature plays a critical role in offering ecosystem services and mitigating climate change. Despite this, our natural capital continues to shrink at an alarming rate and is on the edge of collapse. With the IUCN Congress in Marseille, the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon and COP15 in Kunming, 2020 will be a crucial year for the implementation of the recommendations of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Assessment. In 2020, national plans for the conservation and restoration of ecosystems will be rolled out and the funding we need to protect nature at a global scale needs to be found.
It is clear that the EU has a leadership role to play. The Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the Horizon Europe missions will be central elements in this aim. As biodiversity and climate change are heavily interconnected, policymakers will have to find ways to connect action on both fronts. Through the collection and sharing of data, space programmes can help reduce climate risks while protecting biodiversity. Europe should ensure that its best tools are deployed at scale to prevent the collapse of the natural world.
- Will the latest reports’ recommendations be integrated into the biodiversity strategies of governments and companies?
- How can European leadership in biodiversity lead to an international agreement on biodiversity by the end of 2020?
- How can the EU develop policy coherence and ensure that biodiversity and climate action receive the attention they deserve?
Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA)
European Commission Deputy Director-General for the Environment
Director of the Global Ecosystem Management Programme at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Member of the European Parliament Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee
Thirty years ago, Josef Aschbacher began his career at the European Space Agency (ESA) where he was seconded as the ESA Representative to Southeast Asia at the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok. Later, he joined the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra, Italy, where he served as scientific assistant to the Director of the Space Applications Institute. Upon his return to ESA headquarters in Paris, he was tasked with advancing Copernicus activities within ESA, going on to become head of the Copernicus Space Office, where he led all activities for Copernicus within the Agency and with external partners, in particular the European Commission. Before taking office as the ESA’s Director General, Aschbacher was entrusted with planning the ESA’s Earth Observation Programme, as well as formulating and implementing programmatic and strategic decisions across the Directorate.
Joanna Drake has been in charge of coordinating resource-efficiency policies and other legal instruments within the Directorate-General for the Environment since 2016. She also chairs a cross-cutting Task Force spearheading strategic positions for her Directorate on the post-2020 Commission financial framework negotiations, Brexit coordination, the urban agenda and the future-proofing of the EU’s environmental acquis. Prior to this, Drake was director for SMEs and Entrepreneurship in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. During her tenure in DG GROW, she led the Commission’s Task Force on the Collaborative Economy, New Business Models and SMEs.
Radhika Murti, a Fijian national, leads the IUCN’s global work on ecosystem management. She is responsible for monitoring and assessing the status of ecosystems – including the upscaling and application of the Red List of Ecosystems, which measures biodiversity risk. With over 15 years of experience on environment and development issues, Murti is passionate about participatory approaches to conservation that empowers people to have more control of their environments. She initially led the development of the Islands Initiative, and subsequently worked closely with the Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM) on the development and promotion of ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction, both as a nature-based solution (NBS) concept and as an operational framework.
Ville Niinistö is a Member of the European Parliament. He coordinates the work of the Greens/EFA Group in the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and is a member of the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI). In Finland, he also serves as a member of the City Council of Turku. Niinistö was Finland’s Minister of the Environment from 2011 to 2014 and has also been the leader of the Green Party of Finland. Before his election to the Finnish Parliament, Niinistö worked as a doctoral student in political history at the University of Turku.
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