Mon, 11 Dec 2023

The International Day for Biodiversity was created in 1993 to shine a light on issues affecting nature. Three decades later, protecting ecosystems has become more urgent than ever. The EU is one region rolling out ambitious policies, but the clock is ticking.

The UN says there's growing recognition that biological diversity is a global asset of tremendous value to future generations, yet the number of species is being significantly reduced by human activities.

In December last year, the UN's Cop15 biodiversity talks in Montreal managed a breakthrough deal, which has been compared to the Paris Agreement, after repeated delays and more than four years of negotiations.

The EU this month adopted an historic anti-deforestation law. The goal is to ensure that commodities linked to deforestation and forest degradation won't be able to enter the EU market unless proven to be sustainably sourced.

First law of its kind

This law means that imports of palm oil, cattle, soy, coffee, cocoa, timber and rubber will have to comply with strict traceability obligations. Evidence must show they have not been grown on deforested or degraded land.

It is reported to be "the first law of its kind in the world", according to the NGO Global Witness, and "a historic blueprint" for the approaches that other markets should look at to help preserve the world's forests.

European Union adopts law to ban products driving deforestation

These steps are considered as essential in the fight against climate breakdown and biodiversity loss.

Global Witness added that: "Now the first milestone towards deforestation-free supply chains has been achieved, it's time to ensure that the European Union can fully end its role in forest destruction - which means cutting the money pipeline to deforesting businesses. This is the final piece of the puzzle."

But it warned that "the new law does not oblige EU-based banks or investors to stop funding deforestation through its investment portfolios and via financial services."

From Brussels to Brazil

EU Parliamentarians also want to become leaders on the matter of biodiversity for the rest of the world.

Biodiversity goals crucial to saving planet, experts tell climate summit

On 18 May, EU lawmakers arrived in Brazil to ensure that the South-American country shows it is serious about protecting the environment and the Amazon rainforest to conclude a long-stalled EU trade deal with South American nations.

"The European side needs a clear commitment and clear mechanisms on sustainability," European Parliament member Anna Cavazzini of Germany told AFP in Sao Paulo.

Need for strong implementation

When the Cop15 agreement was adopted six months ago, the Democratic Republic of Congo had unsuccessfully demanded that it includes more funding for developing countries.

Cameroon and Uganda also expressed opposition to the text, and WWF International director Marco Lambertini said the deal would only be as good as its implementation, as it lacked a "mandatory ratcheting mechanism that will hold governments accountable to increase action if targets are not met", Lambertini added.

The same will go for the new EU anti-deforestation law.

Originally published on RFI

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