Biodiversity - the variety of life on Earth - is essential for human wellbeing, and for mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change. It is under great pressure from human-driven land- and sea use changes, over-exploitation of biological resources, pollution, natural and man-made disaster risks and climate change.
Many ecosystems can be restored by reducing ongoing pressures (such as pollution or the over-exploitation of resources) or by active restoration measures such as the reintroduction of native species. Restoration approaches need to ensure long-term results and take into account that future restored ecosystems should be climate resilient.
Restoring Europe's ecosystems will help to increase biodiversity, mitigate and adapt to climate change, and prevent and reduce the impacts of natural disasters, says the EU executive.
"Human activities have significantly altered three quarters of the Earth's lands and two thirds of oceans in recent decades, destabilising our climate and our natural life support systems," said Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius, pointing also to its value in stimulating recovery in a post-pandemic world, creating jobs and sustainable growth.
The Commission is also preparing an impact assessment to support the development of EU nature restoration targets, and to assess their potential environmental, social and economic impacts.
The earlier roadmap for the development of EU nature restoration targets mapped out policy options for restoration targets to be explored in the impact assessment.
On the basis of the impact assessment and taking into account answers received from the public consultation, the Commission will put forward a proposal for legally binding EU nature restoration targets by the end of 2021.
The public consultation will remain open for feedback until 5 April.
The launch of the public consultation comes on the day of the One Planet Summit, co-organised by France, the UN and the World Bank, which this year focuses on biodiversity.
EU nature restoration targets
Public consultation on nature restoration targets