EU passes law to restore all ecosystems by 2050

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The lawmakers of the European Union on Monday approved the “Nature Restoration Law” to tackle the biodiversity crisis and meet the climate targets.

The new law sets a target for the EU to restore at least 20% of the EU’s land and sea areas by 2030 and all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050.

In line with Parliament’s position, EU countries should give priority to Natura 2000 areas until 2030. Once in good condition, EU countries shall ensure an area does not significantly deteriorate.

Member states will also have to adopt national restoration plans detailing how they intend to achieve these targets. The law also sets specific targets such as peatlands that can soak up CO2 emissions and help curb climate change.

The law also demands a positive trend in several indicators in forest ecosystems and an additional three billion trees to be planted.

Member states will also have to restore at least 25,000 km of rivers into free-flowing rivers and ensure there is no net loss in the total national area of urban green space and urban tree canopy cover.

The law passed with 329 votes in favour, 275 against, and 24 abstentions. After the vote, rapporteur César Luena (S&D, ES), said “Today is an important day for Europe, as we move from protecting and conserving nature to restoring it”

“The new law will also help us to fulfil many of our international environmental commitments. The regulation will restore degraded ecosystems while respecting the agricultural sector by giving flexibility to member states” he added.

Over 80% of European habitats are in poor shape. The Commission proposed on 22 June 2022 a nature restoration law to contribute to the long-term recovery of damaged nature across the EU’s land and sea areas.

The purpose of the Law is to achieve EU climate and biodiversity objectives and to reach the EU’s international commitments, in particular the UN Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity framework.

According to the Commission, the new law would bring significant economic benefits, as every euro invested would result in at least 8 euro in benefits.

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