How can we secure a healthy, sustainable future for nature and people? What do we need to do, and when? In order to figure that out, we first need to understand how nature is doing right now.
On 19th October, the European Environment Agency (EEA), working in collaboration with the European Topic Centre for Biodiversity (ETC-BD) and BirdLife International will be launching its second “State of Nature in the EU” report. This wide-ranging report will provide valuable insights into the status and trends of habitats and species across the EU, including the threats they are facing, and activities currently being undertaken for their conservation.
In concordance with this launch, the European Commission will publish another report summarising the outcomes of the European Environment Agency analyses that are based on reports from all 27 EU Member States and the UK and drawing policy conclusions aimed at the European Council and the European Parliament.
The State of Nature report is a momentous collaborative project: over 200 000 people all over the EU, around 60% of which are volunteers, have been involved in collecting and processing data. Research institutes, species experts, governmental and non-governmental organisations have provided their input to the national authorities, who have then officially submitted the information to the European Commission. A significant proportion of the data comes from established schemes for monitoring the environment. For birds, such schemes include the Pan-European Common Bird Monitoring Scheme (PECBMS), which gathers information about 170 widespread breeding bird species in Europe, or the International Waterbird Census (IWC), which monitors the wintering populations of wetland birds.
Citizen science has also contributed to the gathered data, and the role each one of us plays in observing, recording and understanding changes in the environment is becoming of increasingly important as nature urgently needs our swift and smart action to reverse its current fast-paced loss.
The new State of Nature report is thus a milestone publication, which will be used in the coming years to learn from the successes and shortfalls in conservation in the EU, and to be able to set up new, more ambitious goals for the next decade, as announced in the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. The report will be launched during the EU Green Week aiming to promote a new beginning for people and nature.