Our presence in Brussels is particularly crucial as it enables IUCN to inform policy making in collaboration with EU institutions and key stakeholders, and to connect with Members and partners in Europe. Over the years, IUCN Europe has built close relationships both at working level and at the political level with the European Commission, the European Parliament, EU Member States and permanent representations to the EU in Brussels, as well as NGOs, socio-economic and industry representative organizations and other IUCN Members and partners.
IUCN has been actively working on biodiversity protection including protected areas and species, agriculture, marine pollution, nature-based solutions, overseas territories, Sustainable Development Goals, CITES and other issues. The Secretariat engages with key stakeholders in important sectoral policy processes that too often drive biodiversity loss. These include sustainable agricultural practices (also in relation with the EU Common Agriculture Policy), nature-based solutions for environmental challenges such as climate change, the Circular Economy and marine pollution, and closer cooperation with the private and public sectors. The latter is also of interest in the context of sustainable use and the creation of markets for sustainable businesses and products as well as the integration of natural capital into investment and business decisions.
In the run up to 2020, we saw promising momentum for nature and climate action, which resulted in positive developments such as the EU Green Deal. The COVID-19 outbreak, however, could pose a challenge to this momentum, not only because a number of landmark initiatives had to be postponed – including key elements of the mentioned EU Green Deal such as the EU Biodiversity Strategy, but also the future Common Agricultural Policy, and the development of the global post-2020 biodiversity framework.
The current crisis is an important moment to reflect on the current paradigms and step up our efforts to deal with the existential environmental challenges we face. IUCN’s European Regional Office remains committed to supporting and advancing the ambitious EU Green Deal set forth by the European Commission.
We sincerely hope that the human tragedy arising from the current crisis is alleviated as soon as possible. With the understanding that the world following COVID-19 will forever be altered, we hope that this is a transformation for the better. To this end, keeping a strong financial commitment and a swift implementation of the EU Green Deal is crucial to guarantee a bright future for Europe: the European recovery needs to be a Green recovery to be successful.
The EU Policy Advisory Group (EUPAG) was established in early 2014 to advise the IUCN European Office on matters relating to EU policy, helping on the synthesis of IUCN‟s science, knowledge products and standards into policy relevant positions and messages, in consultation with relevant IUCN bodies, following IUCN's established policy procedures. Its ultimate objective is to support IUCN’s effective engagement with EU institutions on relevant policy matters. The EUPAG assists the Director of IUCN Europe. It provides advice on themes and priorities for conferences, high-level events and press conferences for major IUCN events in Brussels and across Europe, and assists in liaising with European National Committees and IUCN Commissions to facilitate expert input into EU policy.