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Is Europe ready for global leadership on biodiversity in 2010?


05 Jan 2010


Health & Consumers
Sustainable Dev.

BirdLife International presents its priorities for the Spanish EU Presidency

Brussels, 21 December 2009 – Today BirdLife International [1] expressed its hope that tomorrow’s meeting of EU Environment Ministers, the first after the Copenhagen Summit, will ensure strong and credible European leadership in next year’s global negotiations on rescuing the world’s biodiversity and ecosystems – a so far underestimated and urgent challenge that is linked to climate change and our impact on the planet, and has huge economic implications.

“Following the extremely disappointing outcome of Copenhagen, the EU now has no other option than to lead with full steam on a rescue plan for the planet in 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity. It must work constructively with global leaders from the new world order to find solutions that work for people and nature, protecting the natural systems that we all ultimately depend upon” commented Konstantin Kreiser, EU Policy Manager at BirdLife International European Division.  

“After largely failing to meet our own 2010 target of halting biodiversity loss, we Europeans now need to convince the rest of the world that we learned our lesson. To rescue its credibility, the EU has to demonstrate that it is going to do its homework much better next time, and on top of this to commit in a credible way to take concrete measures and provide financial assistance for saving biodiversity also beyond its borders”, continued Mr Kreiser.

In particular, BirdLife International expects Ministers to clearly express in the Council Conclusions their support for an ambitious global short-term (2020) target and long-term vision to be adopted at the highest possible levels during 2010. According to BirdLife, this new target should aim to further stop the loss of biodiversity, improve the conservation status of threatened species and habitats and enhance and restore ecosystems to make them resilient to climate change [2]. Ministers should also ask the European Commission to propose such a 2020 target and long-term vision for the EU in January and to publish a meaningful and effective new biodiversity strategy before the end of 2010.

After a promising preparation by Sweden, BirdLife has now high expectations towards the Spanish government: “It will be very much in the hands of the incoming Spanish EU Presidency whether 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity, will be remembered as a milestone for rescuing the planet, or just as another missed opportunity”, concluded Mr Kreiser.

As for every Presidency of the EU, BirdLife International today launched its publication ‘Greening Europe’ [3] highlighting BirdLife’s EU policy priorities for the upcoming six months.

BirdLife provides Spain with “five keys to a successful Presidency”:

•       The EU must adopt, at the highest political level, a highly ambitious new 2020 biodiversity target and show credible leadership for the global negotiations on biodiversity in 2010.

•       The  Presidency and Member States must decide how the EU will ensure its fair contribution to international climate financing, stopping the destruction of tropical forests and strengthening the resilience of ecosystems.

•       The Presidency should urge the European Commission to propose and adopt a strong and sound set of sustainability standards for all bioenergy applications.

•       The Presidency should ensure that all relevant Council formations have an open debate on the future of the EU Budget, based on the Commission’s Budget Review paper (expected in early 2010).

•       The Presidency should urge the European Commission to propose without any delay a strong “EU Seabird Action Plan” for reducing seabird bycatch for approval by Parliament and Council still during the Spanish Presidency.

Six months from now BirdLife will evaluate the successes and failures of Spain on these top recommendations.


For more information, please contact:

Herlinde Herpoel, Media & Communication Manager at BirdLife International -

+32 (0)494 542 844,