Parliament and the European Council have adopted a preliminary agreement on the restoration of natural resources. The proposed legislation is expected to be key to achieving climate neutrality by 2050. and for increasing Europe’s preparedness and resilience to the effects of climate change. The draft legislation on the restoration of natural resources was presented on June 22, 2022. as part of the EU’s 2030 Biodiversity Strategy, which is part of the European Green Deal. The agreement on the restoration of natural resources is another step toward improving nature.

Objectives under the agreement on restoration of natural resources

According to the agreement , the new rules will help restore degraded ecosystems in terrestrial and marine habitats on the territories of all member states, as well as meet the EU’s overarching goals of mitigating and adapting to climate change and enhancing food security.

Among other things, the regulation requires member states to establish and implement measures that will restore nature in at least 20 percent of the EU’s land and sea areas by 2030. The agreement on nature restoration applies to many types of terrestrial, coastal and freshwater ecosystems, including wetlands, grasslands, forests, rivers and lakes, and marine ecosystems such as seagrass beds, sponges and corals. Member states will have to implement measures leading to the restoration of at least 30 percent of the habitat types listed in the regulation’s annexes in poor condition by 2030. In addition, by 2040, member states will have to initiate measures to restore at least 60 percent, and by 2050. – at least 90 percent of habitats in poor condition.

The agreement on the restoration of natural resources imposes an obligation to prevent significant deterioration of restored areas that are in good condition, as well as areas with terrestrial and marine habitats listed in the annexes. This obligation requires special efforts, and its implementation will be evaluated at the level of individual habitat types. Another of the goals is for member states to take action leading to a reversal by 2030 at the latest. The trend of declining pollinator insect populations.

Agreement on restoration of natural resources – ecosystem-specific obligations

With regard to agricultural ecosystems, member states will have to take measures to improve at least two of the following three indicators:

  • Butterfly abundance index in grassy areas;
  • The percentage of agricultural land with high-diversity landscape elements;
  • organic carbon stocks in mineral soils of farmland.

The agreement on the restoration of natural resources assumes that member states will have some flexibility regarding the rewetting of peatlands, as some would be disproportionately affected. The regulation stipulates that 30 percent of drained peatlands in agricultural use should be restored by 2030, by 2040. – 40 percent, and by 2050. – 50 percent, but the more burdened member states will have lower percentage targets. With regard to forest ecosystems, member states will have to introduce measures to increase the biodiversity of forest ecosystems and achieve an upward trend at the national level for certain indicators, such as standing and lying deadwood and the abundance rate of common forest birds.

The adopted agreement also imposes an obligation on member states to plant throughout the EU by 2030. At least 3 billion new trees. The agreement on the restoration of natural resources also applies to urban ecosystems, where it is up to member states to ensure an upward trend in urban green spaces until they reach a satisfactory level. Another of the obligations implied by the adopted agreement is the need to identify and remove man-made barriers affecting surface water connectivity. The goal is to restore at least 25,000. km of rivers To a free-flowing state by 2030. and maintaining the natural connectivity of the watercourses.

National nature restoration plans

The agreement on nature restoration requires member states to submit national nature restoration plans to the EC on a regular basis and show how they intend to meet their targets. According to the schedule, countries are to submit national nature restoration plans for the period until June 2032, and strategic reviews for the period after that date. By June 2032, they must prepare plans for the next ten years, i.e. until 2042, and strategic reviews for the period up to 2050.Then by June 2042. – Plans for the period up to 2050.

Funds for nature restoration

The resource reconstruction agreement obliges the EC to provide a report one year after the legislation comes into force showing how much financial resources are available at the EU level, how much is needed to meet the targets and what, if any, funding gaps exist. The adopted agreement also added a provision to encourage member states to promote existing private and public programs to support relevant actors (such as land managers and owners, farmers, foresters or fishermen) in implementing nature restoration measures. The commission, according to a preliminary agreement, in 2033. will review and evaluate the application of the regulation and its impact on agriculture, fisheries and forestry, as well as its broader socio-economic effects.

When will the natural resource restoration regulations take effect?

The agreement on the restoration of natural resources will be forwarded to the representatives of the member states in the Council (Coreper) and the Parliamentary Committee on the Environment for approval once it is approved. In order to enter into force, the regulations must be formally adopted by both institutions and then published in the Official Journal of the EU.

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