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Local and regional coalition demands immediate adoption of EU Nature Restoration Law

Date

12 Jun 2024

Sections

Climate & Environment

12 June 2024 - Brussels, Belgium

In an urgent appeal to heads of state and environment ministers, a coalition of European cities, regions, environmental authorities, and partners of the Urban Agenda Partnership on Greening Cities has called for the immediate adoption of the EU Nature Restoration Law.

Ahead of Monday’s (17 June) European Council vote on the adoption of the proposed law, the coalition has sent the Council an open letter expressing their grave concern over the ongoing delay in enacting this legislation, warning of serious consequences for nature in Europe and across the world.

Holger Robrecht, ICLEI Europe's Deputy Regional Director, highlighted: "Delaying the implementation of the Nature Restoration Law will make our cities and regions miss the opportunity to urgently assess which ecosystems existed in the past, what were their functions, and how we can use this information as a pathway to modern urban development in cities. We need restoration efforts to span cities, towns, peri-urban and rural areas to create a more resilient Europe for all." 

In the letter, the coalition states that the world faces a triple crisis of biodiversity loss, pollution, and climate change. Over 70% of Europeans live in urban areas, where these crises severely impact ecosystems that are essential for health and wellbeing. Deeply concerning statistics include:

  • Wildlife populations have plummeted by nearly 70% since 1970.
  • Europe has warmed twice as fast as the global average since the 1980s.
  • Cities can be up to 10-15°C hotter than rural areas, contributing to significant mortality rates from extreme temperatures.
  • One-third of Europeans experience water stress annually, and 97% are exposed to harmful levels of fine particulate matter.

The coalition makes it clear that the proposed EU Nature Restoration Law is vital for safeguarding urban green spaces and adapting cities to climate change. Urban areas are home to diverse plant and animal species, with many including Natura 2000 sites within city boundaries.

However, land-use change remains the largest driver of biodiversity loss. By establishing a legal framework for restoration, says the coalition, the Law would support cities in creating resilient, sustainable environments. It would also facilitate collaboration across government levels and stakeholders, promoting mental and physical health for citizens.

The coalition states that continued delay in adopting the Law, despite a provisional political agreement reached last November, undermines the integrity of the EU. It jeopardises future inter-institutional negotiations and Europe’s commitment to the Global Biodiversity Framework.


Notes to editors:

The signatories of the open letter are: ACR+ (Association of Cities and Regions for Sustainable Resource Management), CCRE-CEMR (The Council of European Municipalities and Regions), Climate Alliance, Energy Cities, Eurocities, Fedarene, ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability Europe), Polis (Cities and Regions for Transport Innovation) and Utrecht (as a partner to the Urban Agenda Partnership on Greening Cities).

Read the open letter sent to the European Council by the coalition of European cities, regions, environmental authorities, and partners of the Urban Agenda Partnership for Greening Cities.


About ICLEI - Local Governments for SustainabilityICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network of more than 2,500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development. Active in 125 countries, we influence sustainability policy and drive local action for low emission, nature-based, equitable, resilient and circular development. ICLEI Europe provides members in Europe, the Middle East and West Asia with a voice on European and international stages, a platform to connect with peers, and tools to drive positive environmental, economic and social change. ICLEI Europe works closely with an extended network of local and regional governments and partners on a broad range of topics.


Press contact:
Valeria Eirin                          
Senior Expert, Media & Outreach              
ICLEI Europe                          
Email: valeria.eirin@iclei.org                  
Tel: +49 761 368920

 

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