The EU's policy framework and legislation for nature and biodiversity

AuthorDirectorate-General for Environment (European Commission)
18 Guidance on Wind Energy Developments and EU Nature Legislation
2.1 The EU biodiversity policy framework
In response to the global Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2 02033, agreed at the tenth Conference of the
Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 10), held in Nago ya, Japan, the Commission
drafted, in cooperation with Member States, an EU Biodiversity Strategy to 202034. T his included a series of
targets and a set of feasible and cost-effective measures and actio ns needed to achieve them.
In May 2020 the European Commission adopted the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2030 35 which tackles the key
drivers of biodiversity loss, such as unsustainable use of land and sea, overexploitation of natural reso urces,
pollution and invasive alien species. The strategy is a central element of the EU's recovery plan 36 aiming to
help repair the economic and social damage brought b y the coronavirus pandemic, kick-start European
recovery, and protect and create jobs. It also aims to make biodiversity considerations an integral part of EU's
overall economic growth strategy and stresses the need of having more sustainable sourced renewable energy
to fight both climate change and biodiversity loss.
The 2019 Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES ) report37
also once again highlighted the urgent need for ecosystem conservation and restoration. The report st ates that
the rate of global change in nature over the past 50 years is unprecedented in hum an history and it ident ifies
the key drivers of biodiversity loss. Climate change is ranked as the third main direct driver of biodiversity loss,
illustrating the link between renewable energy development and nature conservation. The European Green
Deal38 presented by the Commission provides a framework for further develop ing EU policy on climate change
and biodiversity.
Appendix B sets out a number of other international initiatives on nature conserv ation that could be relevant
to wind energy developments.
2.2 The Birds and Habitats Directives
2.2.1 Introduction
The Birds and Habitats Directives are the cornerstones of the EU’s nature and biodiversity policy. They enable
all EU Member States to work together, under a common legislative framework, to conserve Europe’s most
endangered, vulnerable and valuable species and habitats throughout their natural range within the EU,
irrespective of political or administrative boundaries. They apply equally to Eur opean land and marine territory
in the Member States.
The overall objective of the two Directives is to ensure that the species and ha bitat types they protect are
maintained or restored at a f avourable conservation status throughout their natural range within the EU. T o
achieve this objective, the Directives set out two main types of measures:
designating and conserving core sites for the protection of habitat types and habitats of species listed
respectively in Annex I and II to the Habitats Directive and habitats of bird species listed in Annex I to the
Birds Directive and of migratory birds. These sites make up the EU-wide Natura 2000 network, which
currently includes over 27000 sites, both on land and at sea ;

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