Since its first establishment in 1985, the Intergroup had the capacity to gain the active support of hundreds of MEPs from all parts of the political spectrum, and to promote excellent dialogue between decision makers and stakeholders on wildlife conservation, sustainable hunting as well as the sustainable management of the countryside and cultural heritage.
Strasbourg, 13 February 2020 – The “Biodiversity, Hunting, Countryside” Intergroup held its constitutive meeting and agreed on the President Álvaro Amaro, 7 Vice-Presidents and a Secretary General for the 2019-2024 parliamentary term. View in detail the Intergroup’s composition.
The conference addressed the state of play of EU forest readiness to climate change. How to adapt European forests to new challenges caused by climate change and the increased presence of natural stressors?
There is currently an exponential production of legislation and strategies that address in whole or in part the management of European forests.
How to concretely improve management practices with a holistic approach that takes into account the entire spectrum of sustainability balancing it out with rising issues due to climate change?
The conference discussed opportunities and challenges for the ambitious EC proposal on binding restoration targets. The proposal, unveiled on 22 June 2022, aims at putting in place time-bound obligations for ecosystem restoration together with an overarching EU target. The aim is to cover at least 20% of the EU’s land and sea areas by 2030 with nature restoration measures, and eventually extend these to all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050.
The event was chaired by MEP Álvaro Amaro (Portugal, EPP), President of the Intergroup, with introductory remarks by MEP Maria Noichl (Germany, S&D), MEP Christine Schneider (Germany, EPP), MEP Alexandr Vondra (Czechia, ECR).
MEP Álvaro Amaro, President of the Intergroup
MEP Maria Noichl, AGRI Committee Member
MEP Christine Schneider, ENVI Committee Member
MEP Alexandr Vondra, ENVI Committee Member
Mr. Stefan Leiner
Head of the Natural Capital and Ecosystem Health Unit, European Commission
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland
Soil Geography and Landscape Research
Wageningen University & EGU Biodiversity Task Force
Deputy Director and Head of Policy, BirdLife Europe and Central Asia
Max Freiherr Von Elverfeldt
President Familienbetriebe Land und Forst
Jurgen Tack (Moderator)
ELO Scientific Director
This online briefing session was organised by the “Biodiversity, Hunting, Countryside” Intergroup in conjunction with the European Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FACE) and chaired by MEP Simone Schmiedtbauer.
It aimed at bringing together a variety of stakeholders to discuss a way forward for livestock farming and large carnivores in Europe. Existing conflicts range from livestock predation to wider concerns about Europe’s rural areas and traditional farming practices.
The topic has been on the EU policy agenda for many years but has resurfaced on the European Parliament’s policy agenda in 2022. Amongst the key approaches to managing conflicts is to develop a constructive dialogue with stakeholders.
The goal of the event is to bring together European and African decision-makers, with stakeholders from across the spectrum, to understand the leadership of African countries in the management and conservation of their wildlife and the role that local communities play.
The panel will consist of a broad range of stakeholders, representing different views on the subject, in particular African representatives, European Commission, NGOs and scientists.
The event will discuss key African conservation approaches including sustainable use for which hunting is an important activity. The voices of local communities will be represented, which are at the forefront of preventing poaching and enhancing community and incentive-based conservation.
The purpose of the conference is to help attendees and their agencies and organisations understand:
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MEP Álvaro AMARO
MEP Juan Ignacio ZOIDO
Hon. Minister Pohamba SHIFETA
Namibia Minister of Environment, Forestry & Tourism
Mr. Jorge RODRIGUEZ ROMERO
Deputy Head of Unit, DG Envi
Ms. Ivonne HIGUERO
Dr. Ali A. KAKA (Moderator)
IUCN Regional Councillor
Dr. Dilys ROE
Chair of the IUCN SULi
Dr. Rodgers LUBILO, PhD
Chairman of Community Leaders Network of Southern Africa
After the parliament has passed a resolution on the forest strategy recommending to ensure that forests can continue to play a multifunctional role.
The Intergroup started to reflect on the main issues and objectives of the strategy already in October 2020. Already at that time, several key elements were mentioned as the need to foster the socio-economic dimension of forestry, the active role of forest managers to maintain forest ecosystems and the need to reward their stewardship.
Now the strategy has been unveiled, it is time to follow up. The Agriculture Ministers adopted recently their conclusions and stressed there must be a “balanced vision on the different dimensions of sustainability,” they emphasized the need to strengthen the socio-economic goals & clearly define the “newly introduced concepts & terms”.
The Webinar intends to continue this discussion and find out how to support further the multifunctional role of European forests.
We will try to identify the current assets and flaws of the strategy. How to build a balanced policy that takes into account all the realities around forest management?
The European Biodiversity Conference was organised by ELO under the auspices of the European Parliament Intergroup Biodiversity, Hunting, Countryside, and took place at the NH Brussels EU Berlaymont in an hybrid mode.
The EU context of the Green Deal combined with CAP, Farm to Fork and 2030 Biodiversity Strategy is putting the soil strategy under the spotlight. The EU aim is to address soil- and land-related issues in a comprehensive way and to help achieve land degradation neutrality by 2030, one of the commitments in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The conference was the opportunity to launch AgriLife : the first-ever pan-European Label process and alliance to reward and encourage farmers at the center of biodiversity while promoting quality production through best practices. It draws a common methodology based on scientific criteria to assess the agro-biodiversity conditions of European territories and farms. It converges actions of the Biodiversity EU strategy, the revised Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) and the recommendations of the “Green Pact for Europe” to provide the means and legal framework to support nature, land and biodiversity restoration. Therefore, AgriLife anticipates movement towards regenerative agriculture, promotes innovation & aims at ensuring the economic and social viability of agribusinesses.
The conservation and recovery of large carnivores, especially the wolf, in Europe will mainly depend on their acceptance and tolerance by people that share their everyday space with them.
Local communities must be supportive of conservation and management and plans.
The event of the “Biodiversity, Hunting, Countryside” Intergroup on “Combatting the greatest threat to wolves in Europe: Illegal killing” discussed the importance of social acceptance in the conservation and management of Europe’s wolves and how to improve coexistence with local and rural communities.
EU decision-makers and scientists were asked to consider how we can promote better co-existence with wolves, in particular, to prevent illegal killing.
This online event was organised by the Intergroup in conjuction with the European Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FACE).
New emerging trends, cultural evaluation, and the effect of climate change are shaping the future of rural areas and farmers’ communities, everywhere in Europe.
The New Green Deal, the CAP, Farm to Fork strategy might offer an opportunity for enlarging the potential for the agri-food sector to engage in diverse activities in the rural sector. Regenerative farming is a path for a more sustainable future with various business opportunities.
The Intergroup would like to explore ways and remedies for the agriculture and farming profession to thrive and face the future challenges to improve EU sustainability.
The long-term vision for rural areas will need to take into consideration the future diversity of farming and how to nurture it in rural areas. The Last JRC study farmers of the future explains that “this future diversity has the potential to contribute to the resilience of farming in the EU and thus to food security, but it also raises several questions and will have implications for future policies”.
The challenges that lie ahead are diverse and complex, and perhaps require an equally diverse and complex plan of action.
The European Commission’s EU 2030 Biodiversity Strategy proposes ambitious restoration targets, which also refers to legally binding targets for restoring nature. The measure constitutes a central element for the success or failure of the 2030 strategy.
As the non-legally binding target of restoring 15% of degraded ecosystems set up in the 2020 Biodiversity Strategy was not achieved, the European Commission (EC) estimates that a legally binding target could make a difference to improve the situation.
This event discussed the EC’s proposed approach and, in particular, the choice of opting for a binding target and evaluate the missing elements to improve the health and resilience of European rich ecosystems.
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The event comes at a time when the latest status of Europe’s huntable birds is published by FACE drawing on the State of Nature report, and the European Commission steps up its focus on adaptive harvest management for the Turtle Dove.
This event also comes at an important political moment as the European Commission is defining its targets for the EU Biodiversity Strategy implementation and stepping up implementation and enforcement of EU environmental legislation.
The 2020 European Biodiversity Conference
European Biodiversity Conference – Farming for biodiversity.
Scaling up good management practices: What’s missing?
The EU Green Deal leads us to rethink policies in a wide spectrum of sectors, notably food and agriculture. The 2020 State of Nature in the EU report and the latest Court of auditors’ study Biodiversity on Farmland proves that EU policy instruments to stop biodiversity losses in agricultural areas are not sufficient and/or not effective enough and implemented appropriately.
The diagnosis is not questionable; however, the remedies are.
The conference “Coexisting with Large Carnivores: Next steps in conservation and management”, organised by the “Biodiversity, Hunting, Countryside” Intergroup, discussed the next steps in EU’s policy framework on large carnivores and the related challenges and solutions towards improving coexistence. With reference to the recently published State of Nature 2020 report, it is essential to find workable solutions to mitigate the conflicts between human interests and large carnivores in line with EU law.
Many stakeholders are awaiting the Commission’s revised guidance on ‘strict protection’ to better understand how conservation and management priorities can be correctly applied towards achieving long-term coexistence with large carnivores in Europe’s densely populated and multifunctional landscapes.
The next EU Forest Strategy will be at the core of the EU Green Deal implementation. It is scheduled for 2021 but already forestry management is being discussed as part of the EU Biodiversity Strategy.
In terms of biodiversity preservation, old-growth forests have been put forward in particular. The European Commission is aiming at implementing a closer to nature type of management to contribute to biodiversity protection.
The European Parliament just adopted The European Forest Strategy – The Way Forward own-initiative report with a large majority asking it to ensure that forests can continue to play a multifunctional role.
Forests are suffering: they are hot, they are thirsty, they are sick. Faced with the magnitude of this crisis, foresters are helpless. How can the EU answer the challenges ahead?
The conference discussed opportunities and challenges for the “Farm to Fork” Strategy, one of the main pillars of the EU Green Deal recently unveiled by the European Commission.
On 20 May 2020, the Commission accompanied its Communication on the “Farm to Fork Strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system” with an Action Plan of 27 legislatives and non-legislative measures, to be taken forward in a timespan from 2020 to 2024.
Although it will be for the concrete initiatives to detail the content of the measures, the strategy already sets a number of steps to be taken and certain targets to be achieved. The strategy states that a shift to a sustainable food system can bring environmental, health and social benefits, offer economic gains and ensure biodiversity targets are met. As underlined in the strategy, the transition into a sustainable food system needs to be supported by a consistent Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) that must be aligned with the objectives of the Green Deal.
During the conference, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), European Commission officials and relevant stakeholders provided their views on the ambitious path to a sustainable food chain which will require necessary nature conservation actions.
Land managers and hunters, in particular, will shared their expectations on how to effectively implement the “Farm to Fork” Strategy which is aimed at establishing a new and better balance of nature, food systems and biodiversity, and at the same time to increase the EU’s competitiveness and resilience. Halting the biodiversity loss and conserving nature and wildlife will be crucial as well as the role played by rural actors in making this great transition happen.
The conference discussed opportunities and challenges for the ambitious EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2030. The strategy, which was recently unveiled by the European Commission, sets a framework for Europe to meet global commitments under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), European Commission officials and relevant stakeholders provided their views on the EU’s 10-year plan to tackle the biodiversity crisis over the next decade.
The European Parliament, Council and Member States are expected to put in place consistent EU policies supporting the Commission in this ambitious and urgent programme.
The new EU biodiversity strategy sets ambitious objectives such as:
To provide space for wild animals, plants, pollinators and natural pest regulators, the European Commission also considers urgent the need to bring back at least 10% of agricultural area under high-diversity landscape features.