The EU's Biodiversity Strategy sets out specific actions and commitments aimed at reversing the degradation of ecosystems and put Europe's biodiversity on a path to recovery by 2030. The Action Plan ‘For a cleaner and more competitive Europe’ is the roadmap towards achieving a circular economy in the EU and in the world.

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    ©Shutterstock/Marine biodiversity
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    ©Shutterstock/Marine biodiversity

Biodiversity

Biodiversity is essential for life. Nature provides us with food, health and medicines, materials, recreation, and wellbeing. A healthy ecosystem filters our air and water, helps keep the climate in balance, converts waste back into resources, pollinates and fertilises crops and much more.  In May 2020, the EU adopted its Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. It sets out specific actions and commitments aimed at reversing the degradation of ecosystems and put Europe's biodiversity on a path to recovery by 2030. It will also support a green recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Strategy proposes a new, strengthened governance framework and for the EU to lead in addressing the global biodiversity crisis. Ambitious domestic action must be matched by effective and collaborative international action - it is a priority for the EU to agree on an ambitious post 2020 global biodiversity framework at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) in Kunming.

The EU also has also endorsed the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature as an expression of the need to increase efforts to address the interrelated challenges of biodiversity loss, deforestation, pollution and climate change in an integrated and coherent way.

Circular Economy

The EU has been working to improve natural resource management and towards a climate-neutral, resource-efficient and circular economy for many years. In March 2020, a new Action Plan ‘For a cleaner and more competitive Europe’ was adopted. The Action Plan is our roadmap towards achieving a circular economy in the EU and in the world.

As part of these actions, the EU and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in coordination with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) launched the Global Alliance on Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency (GACERE) in the margins of the meeting of the United Nations Environment Assembly in February 2021 (UNEA 5.1).

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    Towards zero pollution for air, water and soil
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    Towards zero pollution for air, water and soil

Zero Pollution: Pathway to a Healthy Planet for All

On May 12, 2021, the Commission adopted the EU Action Plan: “Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil”. The plan sets out a vision to achieve a world, where pollution is reduced to levels that are no longer harmful to human health and natural ecosystems, whilst respecting our planetary boundaries, by 2050.

Pollution is the largest environmental cause of multiple mental and physical diseases, and of premature deaths, especially among children, people with certain medical conditions and the elderly. A toxic-free environment is also crucial to protect our biodiversity and ecosystems.

The Action Plan sets the key 2030 targets for reducing pollution at source and outlines a number of flagship initiatives.

Pollution does not stop at borders and as the EU acknowledges that it is both the victim and the source of pollution, the Action Plan foresees reinforced external action. The EU in fact is committed to leading the global fight against pollution.

Flagship Initiatives for the key actions include inter alia reducing the EU’s external pollution footprint by restricting the export of products and wastes that have harmful, toxic impacts in third countries, or supporting global action on the export of end-of-life vehicles (ELVs) and used vehicles.

The new EU Action Plan and Together with the Chemicals Sustainability Strategy, the EU Zero Pollution Action Plan translates the EU's ambition to achieve a toxic-free environment.