Birds

Green 10 Open Letter to EU Commission: Supporting Biodiversity Ambitions under the Facility for Restoration and Resilience

Brussels, December 2, 2020

To: Ambassador Clauss, Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany to the EU,
EU Commission President Von der Leyen,

The Vice Presidents of the EU Commission, Dombrovskis and Timmermans

CC: Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, Siegfried Mureșan, Dragoș Pîslaru, Rapporteur for the European Parliament

Subject: Support for the biodiversity goal under the Facility for Restoration and Resilience

Dear Honorable Ambassador Clauß, Dear President Von der Leyen,

With the European Green Deal, biodiversity has found a place at the center of European policy making. The EU strategy for the conservation of biodiversity, unanimously approved by the Council, contains ambitious goals. The final agreement on the EU budget sets a biodiversity target of 7.5% from 2024 and 10% from 2026.

However, the EU recovery package for the next few years does not contain any specific information on biodiversity.

As the negotiator in the trialogues, you are currently negotiating the legal framework for the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). Once approved, an extensive investment program worth EUR 672.5 billion will be introduced over the next few years. This is something unprecedented in European history and is urgently needed to help society recover from this pandemic.

However, municipal efforts of this magnitude will tie the hands of public finances in the years to come. We must therefore ensure that for every euro spent, we get the best and most sustainable result. The best option is sustainable recovery, which will create the jobs that are needed today while laying the foundation for transforming our society into one that lives well within the confines of the planet.

The European Parliament recently voted to spend 40% of the RRF on climate and biodiversity, while the Council and the Commission proposed a spending target of 37% on climate change. We urge you to adapt the restoration package to the European Green Deal: We ask you to support at least the position of the European Parliament on RRF climate and biodiversity spending.

In addition, we ask you to ensure that the Commission’s guidelines operationalize the Do Do Significant Harm principle in order to establish a clear direction for aligning investments with the goals of the Paris Agreement and the European Green Deal. The taxonomy criteria should be the minimum threshold for such a principle. If the taxonomy criteria are not available or if it cannot be ensured that the investments are in line with the EU’s environmental objectives, environmental protection measures need to be put in place. In order to track climate and biodiversity spending, a new methodology needs to be used, building on taxonomy criteria as they become available. Finally, the involvement of civil society in the preparation of the national recovery plan and a period of at least thirty days for written feedback to the European Parliament’s request must be ensured.

Preserving biodiversity must be part of this recovery, particularly through the restoration of ecosystems and their services on which our economies, food and health depend. The International Labor Organization and OECD recently highlighted the significant employment effects that restoring nature can have on the economy, such as: B. the restoration of moors, wetlands or forests [1] [2]. In addition, restored ecosystems will bring massive and lasting benefits to society. They are vital to achieving the Paris climate goals as they help store carbon as biomass or in the soil, retain much-needed water in the landscapes and serve as protection for human life and infrastructure from the increasingly common natural disasters.

We therefore ask you to support the topics mentioned above and to fight for an ambitious result of the trialogue negotiations.

[1] https://www.ilo.org/employment/units/emp-invest/rural-urban-job-creation/WCMS_757823/lang–en/index.htm.

[2] http://www.oecd.org/coronavirus/policy-responses/biodiversity-and-the-economic-response-to-covid-19-ensuring-a-green-and-resilient-recovery-d98b5a09/.

Your,

Ariel Bruner, acting interim director and senior head of policy at BirdLife

Ester Asin, Director of the WWF European Policy Office

Also on behalf of:

CEE Bankwatch Network, current Green 10 Chair – Anelia Stefanova, Program Director

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe – Wendel Trio, Director

European Environment Bureau (EEB) – Jeremy Wates, Secretary General

European Federation for Transport and the Environment (T&E) – William Todts, Executive Director

Friends of the Earth Europe – Jagoda Munic, Director

European Unity Greenpeace – Jorgo Riss, Director

Alliance for Health and Environment (HEAL) – Genon K. Jensen, Executive Director

Naturefriends International – Manfred Pils, Managing Director

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