From large rainforests to small parks and gardens, from the blue whale to microscopic mushrooms, biodiversity is the extraordinary variety of life on Earth. We humans are a mesh of this web of life, on which we depend for everything: for the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. Nature is important not only for our physical and mental well-being, but also for the ability of our society to cope with global changes, health threats and disasters. Nature is indispensable to us.
To be healthy and resilient, a society must give nature the space it needs. The recent Covid-19 pandemic teaches us how urgent it is to take action to protect and restore nature: it is making us aware of the links between our health and the health of ecosystems, as well as demonstrating the need to adopt sustainable supply chains and consumption patterns that do not push the limits of the planet.
All these aspects highlight that the risk of infectious disease outbreaks and spread increases with the destruction of nature.
To strengthen our resilience and prevent the emergence and spread of future diseases, it is therefore essential to protect and restore biodiversity and the proper functioning of ecosystems. Investing in nature protection and restoration will also be crucial for Europe’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis. When the economy restarts, we will have to avoid falling back into old bad habits.
The European Green Deal, the EU growth strategy, will be the compass for our recovery, ensuring that the economy serves people and society and returns more to nature than it takes away.
The EU biodiversity Strategy defines how Europe can contribute to this goal. As a first step, it aims to put Europe back on the road to recovery by 2030 for the benefit of the people, the planet, the climate and the economy, in line with the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and the objectives of the Paris agreement on climate change. In addition to addressing the five main causes of biodiversity loss, it outlines a strengthened governance framework to fill remaining gaps, ensuring full implementation of EU legislation and focusing on all ongoing efforts. Recognising that rules alone are not enough to protect and restore nature, the strategy is initiative and incentive driven, in the spirit and actions it sets out; as such it will require the active participation of citizens, businesses, social partners and the research and knowledge community, as well as strong partnerships between the local, regional, national and European levels. Its content is in line with the ambitions and commitment expressed in the political guidelines of President von der Leyen and the European Green Deal.