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Commission communication on biodiversity - Helping preserve life on Earth

The European Commission has adopted a communication on a "European Biodiversity Strategy" aimed at counteracting present trends in biodiversity reduction. The Commission's "Biodiversity Strategy" represents a first step in the EU's implementation of the United Nations' Convent...
The European Commission has adopted a communication on a "European Biodiversity Strategy" aimed at counteracting present trends in biodiversity reduction. The Commission's "Biodiversity Strategy" represents a first step in the EU's implementation of the United Nations' Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) produced at the Rio Conference in 1992, and ratified by the EU in December 1993.

Based on a wide-ranging consultation process carried out during 1997, the Strategy contains general policy orientations. This will be followed by the development and implementation of Action Plans and other measures aimed at translating into concrete actions the objectives of the CBD.

The Commission's communication first sets out 46 strategy objectives in four main horizontal areas:

- Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity;
- Sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources;
- Research, identification, monitoring and exchange of information;
- Education, training and awareness.

These include, for example, the promotion of eco-labelling schemes based on life-cycle analysis for products whose production, distribution, use or disposal could affect biodiversity. They focus essentially on contributing to the economic and social viability of systems supporting biodiversity, as well as to the removal of incentives with perverse effects on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

The Strategy then focuses more specifically on the integration of biodiversity concerns into relevant sectoral policies, setting out the objectives that these policy areas should pursue in the development of specific sectoral and cross-sectoral Action Plans. The policy areas concerned include:

- Conservation of natural resources;
- Agriculture;
- Fisheries;
- Regional policies and spatial planning;
- Forests;
- Energy and transport;
- Tourism;
- Development and economic cooperation.

Commenting on the adoption of the Commission communication, Mrs. Ritt Bjerregaard, Commissioner responsible for the environment, noted: "This Strategy constitutes an important milestone in environmental policy making. It defines a framework for action in relevant policy areas to achieve integration of biodiversity concerns. The actors in these policy areas now have clear objectives for assuming their responsibility for a better environment".

Subjects

Biotechnology - Policies
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