Nearly two-thirds of the habitats and species protected by the EU Habitats Directive are in ‘unfavourable’ conditions1.The declining state of ecosystems negatively affects the quality and availability of nature-based benefits such as clean air, water and food. Climate change further weakens ecosystems and their benefits through drivers such as acidification and droughts. This decline in ecosystem services affects human health and wellbeing.2 3
The EU aims to halt the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services by 2020. The establishment of the Natura 2000 network of protected areas and the reduction of point source pollution are some of the most important achievements so far. However, many challenges remain – including the urgent need to improve the integration of EU environmental legislation in sectoral policies and strengthen its enforcement at local and regional level.
1.European Environment Agency (2016)
2.Eurostat: Agriculture, forestry and fisheries statistics (2017)
3.European Environment Agency report on Air quality in Europe (2017)