The Nature Outlook project is carried out during a time when there is a large amount of interest in EU nature policy. In its Biodiversity Strategy of 2011, the EU has set the headline target of halting biodiversity loss by 2020, together with six supporting targets. In this strategy document, the EU also outlines its long-term vision for 2050:
‘By 2050, European Union biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides – its natural capital – are protected, valued and appropriately restored for biodiversity’s intrinsic value and for their essential contribution to human well-being and economic prosperity, and so that catastrophic changes caused by the loss of biodiversity are avoided.’
However, Europe is not on track to meet its 2020 target of halting biodiversity loss, as recent EEA reports on nature and the environment show. Persistent bottlenecks are the implementation of nature policies and the integration of biodiversity in economic sectors, according to the European Commission in 2015.
There is an urgent need to think about the long term. How could these problems be solved? How could the engagement of civil society and economic actors be increased? The Nature Outlook project aims to contribute to the discussion on the long-term EU strategy for nature beyond 2020 by addressing these questions.
Relation to ongoing reviews of policy and legislation
In October 2015, the European Commission has published the mid-term review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy. The Commission is also performing a fitness check of EU nature legislation. These activities are focused on policy actions on the relatively short term, whereas the Nature Outlook is focused on the long-term strategy. In order to avoid interference with these policy assessments, the final results of the Nature Outlook will be presented in autumn 2016, after the mid-term review and the fitness check.
The majority of species and habitats of community interest (Habitats Directive) in the EU is not yet in a favourable conservation status. Source: European Commission (2015)