EU Environment ministers: securing biodiversity has its price

17 July 2013, Last updated at, 14:32 EEST
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Informal Meeting of Ministers for the Environment and Climate Change had started in Vilnius | author: eu2013.lt

Following the invitation of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, two days Informal Meeting of Ministers for the Environment and Climate Change had started in Vilnius on 16 July 2013. Meeting was attended by the Ministers or Heads of Delegations and delegates from all EU Member States and some other European countries, European Parliament, European Investment Bank and other European institutions. The first day of the Meeting was dedicated to mainstreaming of natural capital and biodiversity financing, and the European Commission was represented by the Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik.

The discussions were based on a background paper circulated by the Lithuanian Presidency that laid the ground for the European Union and its Member States on mainstreaming the protection of natural capital and biodiversity in different sectors and exploring the biodiversity financing opportunities at national, EU and international level in the context of new Multiannual Financial Framework.

During the Meeting, it was confirmed that loss of biodiversity can weaken the resilience of ecosystems, impair their services and negatively impact human well-being. Ministers from several countries stressed that compromise on delivery of ecosystem services can jeopardize the attainment of Europe 2020 goals, including the potential for green growth, and emphasized the necessity to mainstream biodiversity-related actions at every level.

It was acknowledged, that investing in key elements of EU natural capital, including Natura 2000, Green Infrastructure and the restoration agenda needs to be a priority for Member States for the next seven years.

Ministers highlighted the importance of mobilizing both EU and national financial resources from all possible including private sources in order to ensure adequate levels of funding towards meeting biodiversity objectives. It was also recognized that tracking biodiversity-related expenditures is essential to ensure that spending are related to policy outcomes in order to improve the effectiveness of funding. The importance of delivering on EU commitments to biodiversity protection at global level has also been reminded.

Over the working lunch Environment Ministers will continue discussions on the shale gas risk assessment and potential actions at the EU level. After lunch participants of the meeting will have an opportunityto visit successful example of Lithuania’s protected biodiversity – Pavilniai Regional Park.

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