EU’s Nature Restoration Law finally enters into force

The European Union formally gave the green light to a new binding agreement to restore degraded ecosystems across land and sea in a bid to improve climate mitigation and adaptation, and enhance food security.

EU’s Nature Restoration Law finally enters into force

The Restoration Law was approved back in February 2024, despite fierce and last-minute opposition from right-wing lawmakers against a backdrop of farmer protests. It was formally adopted on Monday (17 June), setting time-bound targets for numerous nature metrics.

Under the law, the EU will implement restoration measures on at least 20% of land and sea by area size this decade. It will then expand restoration to all ecosystems in need of repair up to 2060. A peatland-specific target has been set to revitalise 30% by area size this decade, increasing to 50% by 2050.

Targets cover a range of ecosystems, such as coastal, freshwater, forest, agricultural and urban as well as wetlands, grasslands, forests, rivers and lakes.

EU states have up to 2030 to take measures on habitats deemed in poor condition to restore at least 30%. This rises to 60% by 2040 and “at least” 90% by 2050. Member States have also agreed to reverse the decline of pollinator populations by 2030.

Other targets include restoring drained peatlands and planting at least three billion additional trees by 2030.

Alain Maron, Minister for Climate Transition, Environment, Energy and Participatory Democracy of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region said: “I am pleased with this positive vote on the Nature Restoration Law, which was agreed between the European Parliament and the Council almost a year ago. It is the result of hard work, which has paid off. There is no time for a break in protecting our environment.

“Today, the Council of the EU is choosing to restore nature in Europe, thereby protecting its biodiversity and the living environment of European citizens. It is our duty to respond to the urgency of the collapse of biodiversity in Europe, but also to enable the European Union to meet its international commitments. The European delegation will be able to go to the next COP with its head held high.”

These targets align with the EU’s commitments under the UN’s international Kunming-Montreal biodiversity treaty, which was ratified in late 2022 and sets a global vision for halting and reversing the destruction and degradation of nature. 81% of the EU’s habitats are classed as being in poor health.

The Law has faced opposition but was passed with a slim majority of 20 countries. These countries accounted for 66% of the EU’s population, surpassing the 65% required for a majority by the European Council.

The Law applies to all Member States who will need to submit national restoration plans to the Commission. By 2033, the Commission will review the application of the regulation.

Dominic Gogol, Deputy Director of Policy, We Mean Business Coalition said: “The passing of the Nature Restoration Law after the EU elections shows the Green Deal is still alive and kicking. Ensuring 20% of the EU’s land and seas are restored by 2030 are objectives that every nation should be behind – a thriving natural environment offers populations and economies a wealth of seen and unseen benefits that allow business to operate, and people to live healthy lives.

“Companies will be keen to work with member states as they develop implementation plans for how these nature objectives will be met on land and sea. Businesses have a huge opportunity to play a positive role through their operations, value chains, and investments. This watershed legislation is a promising milestone in efforts to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030, as outlined by the Kunming-Montreal Agreement and in line with outcomes to meet the Paris Agreement 1.5C target.”

Comments (1)

  1. Richard Phillips says:

    We have only got one Earth, it might just pay us to look after it!!!

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