Background

PRESS RELEASE - European Parliament calls for a more flexible and adaptive approach to nature conservation

Strasbourg, 15 November 2017 - In recent months, the European Parliament’s Environment Committee debated the “Action Plan for Nature, People and the Economy”, which was the result of the “Fitness Check” of the EU nature directives. The Environment Committee adopted a draft Resolution on the Action Plan, as they felt that certain issues were missing. Today, the European Parliament overwhelmingly voted in favour of a more pragmatic approach to EU nature conservation.

An important addition from the European Parliament is a call for a procedure to change the protection status of species, when they have reached favourable conservation status. This is highly welcome news for some regions and member states that have seen certain large carnivore populations increase dramatically, leading to unacceptable conflicts with rural communities, especially livestock farmers.

This is a strong acknowledgment from the Parliament, which is shared by the majority of Member States that some populations of large carnivores no longer qualify for strict protection under EU rules - due to successful conservation and management. 

The European Parliament highlighted the need for improved coherence between biodiversity and agricultural policy urging the European Commission to undertake an evaluation of the impact of agricultural policy* on biodiversity. Other additions call for “flexible approaches to implementation that take into account specific national circumstances” as well as the need to consider adaptive harvest management as a best practice tool to sustainably manage abundant waterbird populations. Furthermore, the European Parliament calls on the Commission to promote and propose means and funding for the development of transboundary management plans for large carnivores. 

Ludwig Willnegger, FACE Secretary-General, states: “This European Parliament Resolution reaffirms both the challenges and successes of EU nature conservation in particular with regard to large carnivores. Importantly, it acknowledges that greater flexibility and adjustment measures are required. Some large carnivore populations have been doing extremely well and in some cases, they have already reached favourable conservation status. Now, FACE calls on the European Commission to listen to the call of the European Parliament to develop and implement an assessment procedure for populations of certain species that have reached favourable conservation status”. 

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*See FACE position on CAP here