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Ministers stress importance of integrating biodiversity preservation in other policies

On 14 April, the meeting of the Environment Ministers opened the three-day informal meeting of the European Union Environment and Energy Ministers. The Environment and Climate Ministers focused on biodiversity preservation and the international climate change negotiations aimed towards reaching a new global agreement on post-2020 climate change mitigation at the Paris Climate Change Conference in December. The informal meeting takes place under the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the EU.

The Latvian Presidency has defined biodiversity as one of the priority issues in the field of the environment. The first part of the morning session was devoted to the evaluation of the progress made towards objectives set in the EU Biodiversity Strategy – to halt biodiversity loss by 2020 and promote the preservation, use and enhancement of natural capital. The ministers also exchanged examples of best practice at national level for limiting the loss of biodiversity. They discussed about challenges and opportunities for integrating biodiversity in key policy areas (such as agriculture, forestry and regional planning) and their tools of implementation.

Ministerial debate was largely based on the results of the new State of the Environment Report (SOER2015) which provides a comprehensive assessment of the state of, trends in and prospects for the environment in Europe, and reflects on it in a global context. Taking into consideration the natural values protected by EU nature legislation and the assessing of the ecosystems more broadly, this shows that in Europe the situation in the field of biodiversity has not improved.

During the discussion, the information on the work done towards preserving biodiversity clearly demonstrated the EU's determination to achieve the goals set in the EU Biodiversity Strategy

It is also essential in view of the upcoming mid-term review of this strategy that the European Commission has been working on.

Considering the importance of financial resources in the preserving of biodiversity and on natural capital’s economic potential, the ministers had an opportunity to get acquainted with the recently implemented EU financial instrument – the Natural Capital Financing Facility. It was recognised that projects implemented under this tool have a significant potential to achieve synergies between biodiversity and economic development in a larger scale.

Minister Kaspars Gerhards stressed: "Despite the fact that much has already been done to promote biodiversity preservation, there is still a lot to be done to halt the loss of biodiversity in the EU by 2020. The results of today’s discussion will contribute to the development of the mid-term review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy and the assessing of the efficiency of current nature conservation legislation."

A session devoted to the international climate change negotiations took place at the end of the day. It aimed to take stock of the progress made towards reaching a new global agreement on post-2020 climate change mitigation at the Paris Climate Change Conference in December this year.

"The new agreement must justify the expectations of the world community and provide strong message to the private and public sector about further development at global level. Therefore, preparatory work is of utmost importance. The remaining 8 months should be used as efficiently as possible. The Latvian Presidency will do what is needed for the EU’s effective participation in these negotiations," said the Minister.

The meeting of ministers will continue on 15 April with a joint session of the Environment and Energy Ministers. They will have a debate on finding how to best accommodate biodiversity preservation with the increased use of renewable energy sources in order to reduce the EU's energy dependency and to mitigate climate change.

Information for the media:

Media contacts:

Janis Rungulis
Spokesperson, COREPER I
Permanent Representation of Latvia to the EU
Phone: +32 (0) 2 2383 173 (direct)
Mobile phone: +32 (0) 4 7352 3485

Kristīne Kļaveniece
Public Relations Division
Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development
Phone: +371 67026533

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