The aim of the EU Biodiversity strategy to 2020 (COM(2011)244) is to halt the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services by 2020. The No Net Loss (NNL) initiative will allow compensating the loss in one area by balancing with gain elsewhere in the EU.
Biodiversity is a measure for the health of various ecosystems. Mainly due to human activities, species are currently being lost at a pace 100 to 1,000 times faster than the natural rate. According to the FAO, 60% of the world's ecosystems are degraded or used unsustainably. Only 17 % of habitats and species and 11% of key ecosystems are protected by EU legislation.
The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2020 is in line with the Resource Efficiency Flagship Initiative and consists with the following six targets:
- Conserve and restore nature;
- Maintain and enhance ecosystems and their services;
- Ensure sustainability of agriculture, forestry;
- Ensure sustainability for fisheries;
- Combat invasive alien species;
- Address global biodiversity crisis.
One of the six targets outlined in the strategy specifies that by 2020, ecosystems and their services are maintained and enhanced by establishing green infrastructure and restoring at least 15% of the degraded ecosystems and restoring them in so far as feasible. As part of the actions to reach this target, the Commission is preparing an EU Initiative on No Net Loss of Biodiversity by 2015.
For this purpose, the Commission has established a Working Group on “No Net Loss of Ecosystems and their Services”, in which IMA-Europe is actively participating to ensure that decision taken in the NNL working group are consistent with existing initiatives and legislation, or ongoing projects, for example the link between Natura 2000 sites and the NNL initiative. The current discussions that are taking place within this group are focused on having a clear definition, scope, operating principles as well as efficient management and support instruments in the context of the common implementation framework of the Strategy.