“Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services” - EU high-level conference in Brussels
On 23-24 May 2019, the European Commission, in cooperation with the European Committee of the Regions, organised an EU “Conference on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: a Common Agenda to 2020 and Beyond". With a strong involvement of stakeholders, the conference looked back at what has been achieved by the EU, to draw on lessons learned and reflect on main challenges for the future.

The conference started with a high-level political session, opened by Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for the Environment, and Roby Biwer, First Vice-Chair of ENVE Commission, European Committee of the Regions. EU policy-makers and stakeholders exchanged on achievements in the field of nature and biodiversity. Starting from the recent IPBES report on global assessment on biodiversity, they also reflected on the state of biodiversity and nature's contributions to people in the EU and globally, and challenges for the future. The session also marked the 40th Anniversary of the EU Birds Directive.

The second day of the Biodiversity Conference provided opportunities for stakeholders to contribute to the evaluation of the EU biodiversity strategy to 2020. Stakeholders and decision-makers discussed and reflected on achievements, factors of success as well as barriers to implementation and progress towards each of the six targets and horizontal measures. Keynote speakers stressed the importance to address biodiversity and climate.

After the opening keynotes, a stakeholder consultation took place in eight breakout sessions, one per target or horizontal measure. CEPF Secretary General, Fanny-Pomme Langue, participated to the panel discussion on target 3 of the Biodiversity Strategy, “achieving more sustainable agriculture and forestry”, chaired by Claudia Olazabal, Head of Unit in DG Environment. Ms Olazabal stated that “agriculture and forestry represent around 95% of EU land use.  Thus, this is where biodiversity is living and where biodiversity conservation is taking place happening”. Fanny-Pomme Langue said “Forest owners are per se engaged in biodiversity protection, as environment is one of the pillars of sustainable forest management”. She pointed out that “involvement of forest owners is key to achieve implementation of legislation” and stressed that “the success stories deserve to be recognized and spoken out. Moreover, long term perspective of forestry has to be taken into account when designing policies and financing tools. A policy framework of 5 to 10 years does not mean much for a tree life span.”

This conference provided a very timely opportunity to take part to the stakeholder consultation on evaluation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. CEPF trusts that the outcomes of this event will be relevant and useful to frame future EU policies on biodiversity.

Panel discussion on Target 3b of the Biodiversity Strategy

Please find the conference recordings here. (Recording of the target 3 begins at 4:45:20)