“Pebbles” to build the way for pan-European biodiversity

A recent meeting in Brussels of the Friends of the Chair of the Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy (PEBLDS – read “pebbles”) re-confirmed that PEBLDS should become the Pan-European 2020 Strategy for Biodiversity, with the Secretariat provided by UNEP.

Forêt sur lac Photo: Morgane Honikman/EIFFAGE

This decision is a result from the PEBLDS Council meetin in June 2011. The group, chaired by Robert Lamb from the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment who will soon conclude his mandate as Chair, discussed the details of the June Council decision including the need for a more flexible governance arrangement.

IUCN is a partner in the discussions and agreed to help implement the new Strategy.

A number of gaps in the current governance structure for nature in Europe prove the need for a forum for pan-European biodiversity. The six EU biodiversity conservation targets described in the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy are in line with the 20 global Aichi targets for biodiversity conservation, but they cover only the 27 EU Member States. The Council of Europe and its Bern Convention have a broader, pan-European reach, but the Convention is not responsible for implementation. The UN Economic Commission for Europe and its Ministers for Environment meetings cover all of Europe, but they are not specifically focused on nature conservation and biodiversity.  

Dr Hans Friederich, IUCN Regional Director for Europe underlined that: “PEBLDS is the only up-to-date pan-European biodiversity-focused strategy, and therefore it is important that this strategy be implemented.”

The kind of issues that need to be tackled by the new Pan-European 2020 Strategy for Biodiversity would be the implementation of the Aichi targets throughout pan-Europe, the establishment of a technical support service to assist countries in the preparation, implementation and monitoring of their National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans and a mechanism to better integrate the implementation of the different biodiversity-related Conventions in pan-Europe.

During the meeting in Brussels, interest was expressed by representatives from Eastern Europe to take over the Chair from Switzerland. There were also talks about possible joint funding to support the political process and its secretariat in East Europe. Georgia offered to host the next Biodiversity in Europe Conference.

IUCN offered to work with the government parties, UNEP and IUCN Member European Centre for Nature Conservation (ECNC), to help make the new Strategy a success.

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