In reaction to the EU’s interim evaluation of its 2030 Biodiversity Strategy released on 13 March, the marine NGOs Oceana and Seas At Risk have published an assessment of Member States’ pledges on marine protection targets. They warn that EU Member States are set to miss targets to protect 30% of EU seas by 2030. As well as not being on-track to meet the 30% target, EU countries are also far behind in achieving their commitment to strictly protect 10% of European seas by 2030. The NGOs’ evaluation also shows low ambition to deliver agreed marine protection commitments. Faced with the dual biodiversity and climate crises, the European Commission cannot ignore this alarm signal and must take firmer action for the EU to meet its biodiversity targets and remain credible internationally vis-à-vis the recently adopted UN Global Biodiversity Framework.



Nicolas Fournier, Campaign Director for Marine Protection at Oceana in Europe, said: “Our assessment confirms political inertia on the part of many Member States to meet marine protection targets they themselves endorsed, and they already missed their targets under the previous 2010 EU Biodiversity Strategy. The environmental crisis we face requires resolute action. We call on the European Commission to make these targets legally binding as a priority for the next legislature and to dedicate adequate funding to meet them.”

The NGO assessment focused on seven EU Member States (Denmark, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden) and found that only four of them submitted pledges at all, more than a year after the deadline. Those countries that have submitted assessments are lacking the level of ambition required to tackle the EU’s environmental emergency. The scrutiny of pledges was also complicated, as only two pledges have been made public. Only one Member State (Denmark) described in its pledge how it will achieve the 30% target. Two others (Germany and the Netherlands) have already achieved this target, but have not yet submitted pledges. Portugal and Ireland are both lagging behind in terms of marine protection – with only 5% and 9% of their waters designated as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) respectively, and yet their governments have also not submitted any pledges to the European Commission.

To read the full press release click here

For the latest status on EU Member State biodiversity pledges click here.

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