The European Parliament today approved in plenary in Strasbourg the Nature Restoration Act, an expected law that will make compatible “sustainable economic growth and the maintenance of the health of ecosystems”, in the words of the MEP and negotiator for Renew Europe, Soraya Rodríguez.
The debate on the Commission’s proposal – a key part of the European Green Deal and the EU’s biodiversity strategy – has generated a media echo that has not been exempt from fake news. The Renew Europe group tabled a number of amendments to advance the unlocking. The amendments, which have mostly been incorporated into the final text, include more flexibility for states, funding, and proper implementation of ocean conservation measures, among others.
Objectives of the Restoration Act
Parliament thus supports the Commission’s proposal to launch restoration measures by 2030 covering at least 20 % of all EU land and maritime areas, contributing to achieving the EU’s international commitments to sustainable growth and strengthening the health of European ecosystems.
It is a law that will establish binding targets to be met by the countries of the Union, starting from the elaboration of National Restoration Plans. Countries will decide the areas to be restored, specific measures and how they will be implemented. Ecosystem restoration is key to combating climate change and biodiversity loss. In addition, it will strengthen agricultural production and reduce food insecurity in the future. Scientific evidence shows that nature and food systems are closely linked. According to the MEP, “this law does not undermine food security, when 70 % of European agricultural soils are in the process of continuous erosion.”
In addition, according to the Commission, the Nature Restoration Act will have economic benefits, since for each euro invested, at least EUR 8 of profits will be generated.
Conflict Points of the Nature Restoration Law
In plenary, MEP Soraya Rodríguez stressed that “most companies have spoken in favor of the law” because they know that “growth is possible in Europe while maintaining the health of ecosystems.” Also farmers and people living in the rural world agree.
The bill does not require the creation of new protected areas in the EU and will not result in the paralysis of agricultural land. Nor will it block or hinder the expansion of renewable energy, since a new article states that these infrastructures are in the public interest.On the position of other groups to the Nature Restoration Law, Soraya Rodríguez has pointed out that the European People’s Party, which had worked on the law and made contributions, voted against, with the exception of 21 MEPs who broke the voting discipline. The EPP “has turned this law into a political battle and lost it,” he said.
The Restoration of Nature and the Right to Health
This law not only affects biodiversity, it also affects human rights. The MEP recalled in the debate that “more than 80 % of European ecosystems are very deteriorated, according to scientific evidence.” The future Nature Restoration Act therefore contributes to the right to a healthy environment and the right to health. “Biodiversity has no ideology,” she concluded.
Press conference by Soraya Rodríguez, MEP and negotiator of the Nature Restoration Act by Renner Europe, together with the President of Renew Europe, Stéphane Séjourné; the Chair of the Committee on the Environment, Pascal Canfin; and Renew Europe’s Environment Coordinator, Nils Torvalds.