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Document 52011DC0244

Biodiversity strategy for 2020

This summary has been archived and will not be updated, because the summarised document is no longer in force or does not reflect the current situation.

Biodiversity strategy for 2020

The European Union (EU) adopts a strategy to protect and improve the state of biodiversity in Europe for the next decade. This strategy identifies six targets which cover the main factors for biodiversity loss and which will reduce the greatest pressures on nature.


This strategy aims to halt the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystems in the European Union (EU) by 2020, by identifying six priority targets. This strategy is an integral part of the Europe 2020 strategy, and, in particular, of the flagship initiative entitled ‘A resource-efficient Europe’.

Target 1: conserving and restoring nature

The EU must ensure better application of the ‘Birds’ and ‘Habitats’ Directives. These two Directives constitute the backbone of EU biodiversity policy. They have achieved some good results so far, such as the creation of Natura 2000, the world's largest network of protected areas, covering over 750 000 km2. However, progress is still insufficient in terms of reaching a favourable conservation status of all habitats and species of European importance. In order to achieve the first target of this strategy, EU countries must ensure better application of existing legislation. In particular, they must manage and restore Natura 2000 sites by investing the necessary resources. These actions would contribute towards halting biodiversity loss and to restoring biodiversity by 2020.

Target 2: maintaining and enhancing ecosystems and their services

In the EU, numerous ecosystems and their services have been degraded, mainly due to land fragmentation. Target 2 is aimed at maintaining and enhancing ecosystem services and restoring the degraded ecosystems (at least 15% by 2020), by integrating green infrastructure into land-use planning.

On 6 May 2013, the European Commission issued a Communication on green infrastructure, which describes, in particular, the key elements of the future strategy of the EU in this area, including:

promoting green infrastructure in the relevant policy areas (cohesion policy, climate change and the environment, health and consumer affairs, CAP - the Common Agricultural Policy, etc.);

improving information, knowledge and innovation to encourage the deployment of green infrastructure;

improving access to funding for green infrastructure projects;

studying the feasibility of EU-wide green infrastructure projects.

By 2015, the Commission will also propose an initiative aimed at preventing any net loss of ecosystems and their services.

Target 3: ensuring the sustainability of agriculture and forestry

The instruments provided under the CAP should contribute towards maximising areas under agriculture across grasslands, arable land, and permanent crops that are covered by biodiversity measures, by 2020.

Forest Management Plans or equivalent instruments will be put in place for all forests that are publicly owned and for forest holdings above a certain size, by 2020. The plans must ensure sustainable management of forests in order to receive funding under the EU’s Rural Development Policy.

Measures adopted to ensure sustainable management must also contribute towards achieving targets 1 and 2 of the strategy.

Target 4: ensuring sustainable use of fisheries resources

The measures adopted as part of the Common Fisheries Policy must enable the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) to be achieved by 2015. To this purpose, it is essential to achieve a population by age and by size distribution indicative of a healthy stock. Through fisheries management with no significant adverse impacts on other stocks, species and ecosystems, it will be possible to achieve Good Environmental Status by 2020, in accordance with the ‘Marine Strategy Framework-Directive’.

Target 5: combating invasive alien species

With the exception of the legislation on theuse of alien and locally absent species in aquaculture, there is currently no comprehensive EU policy on combating invasive alien species. However, these species pose a significant threat to European biodiversity. It is therefore necessary to identify them, isolate or eradicate them, and to control their introduction in order to prevent the appearance of new species. To this end, the Commission will fill policy gaps in combating invasive alien species with a dedicated legislative instrument.

Target 6: addressing the global biodiversity crisis

The EU must step up its contribution to averting global biodiversity loss by meeting the commitments made at the 10th Conference of Parties (COP10) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, which took place in Nagoya in 2010. During this conference, the EU committed to:

achieving the goals set by the Global Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020;

implementing the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity (ABS Protocol); and

mobilising additional resources to finance the challenge of protecting biodiversity world-wide.


The strategy responds to two major commitments made by EU leaders in March 2010, namely halting biodiversity loss in the EU by 2020 and protecting, assessing and restoring biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU by 2050.


Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 (COM(2011) 244 final of 3 May 2011)


Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Green Infrastructure (GI) - Enhancing Europe's Natural Capital (COM(2013) 249 final of 6 May 2013)

last update 21.09.2015