Biodiversity

Our Work

Our work supports the EU's objective of halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services by 2020. This includes assessing the costs and socio-economic benefits of conserving biodiversity and associated ecosystem services, and developing evidence-based polices that help implement and finance EU biodiversity conservation measures. IEEP has extensive experience of biodiversity-related policy analysis in agricultural, freshwater and marine ecosystems and has pioneered measures to tackle invasive alien species and the impacts of climate change on biodiversity. We primarily work on policy analysis and development projects for the European Commission, but also contribute to the biodiversity conservation work of national governments, NGOs and other international governmental organisations.

The EU has a relatively well-established biodiversity conservation policy framework, now formalised in the 2010 EU Biodiversity Strategy, at the heart of which are the Habitats Directive and Birds Directive, which have created the Natura 2000 network – the largest network of protected areas in the world. These Directives include legislative measures that require Member States to conserve and restore EU threatened habitats and species, both within Natura 2000 sites but also where necessary in the wider environment. The Biodiversity Strategy also includes targets that aim to restore ecosystems and their services, support the biodiversity conservation measures in agricultural, forest and marine ecosystems, address alien invasive species and reduce the EU’s external impacts on global biodiversity.

Despite this impressive framework ecosystems continue to be degraded and biodiversity is still being lost. This is due to slow, incomplete or inappropriate implementation, including weak enforcement, a lack of funding, and some important policy gaps.

A fundamental problem continues to be the undervaluation of biodiversity and its limited capture in economic systems. Therefore a key area of our work is demonstrating the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services to clearly show that biodiversity is worthy of protection, for its own sake and for its contribution to human well-being. This understanding is the basis for the development of policies that aim to support the conservation and restoration of biodiversity, for example through better regulations, cost-effective public funding (such as agri-environment schemes and other EU funds) and innovative market-based instruments (such as payments for ecosystem services and biodiversity offsets).

Latest in Biodiversity

  • The Manual: Front pages

    This is a chapter of IEEP’s Manual of European Environmental Policy. This chapter provides information on the authors, editors and editorial board involved in the Manual, as well as guidance on how to use it, and a brief outline of its content.

  • The Manual: Chapter 1 - Policy framework

    This is a chapter of IEEP’s Manual of European Environmental Policy. In this chapter, the reader is introduced to European environmental policy, EU institutions and agencies, and the development of EU treaties.

  • The Manual: Chapter 9 - Biodiversity

    This is a chapter of IEEP’s Manual of European Environmental Policy. In this chapter the development of the EU biodiversity policy framework is explored, including the Birds and Habitats Directive and other legislation on Genetically Modified Organisms, for example.

  • The Manual: Chapter 13 - Sectoral policies

    This is a chapter of IEEP’s Manual of European Environmental Policy. This chapter sets out the development of some of the most important links between EU environmental policy and other policy areas, such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, transport, trade, and so on.

  • Protected areas for water security - IEEP leads a session at IUCN World Parks Congress, Sydney

    Managing protected areas for biodiversity and water security has become a real concrete ‘win-win’ possibility. IEEP and IUCN WCPA session wraps up with a very positive note at IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney.

  • IUCN World Parks Congress kicks off in Sydney

    The IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney started on Thursday supported by several high level addresses highlighting the global significance of protected areas.

  • Time for an updated global agenda for protected areas - IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney (12 – 19 November)

    The landmark international forum on protected areas - IUCN World Parks Congress (WPC) – will take place in in Sydney 12 – 19 November. IEEP’s Marianne Kettunen will be attending the event, showcasing and drawing lessons from IEEP’s longstanding work on protected areas.

  • IEEP to support the European Commission’s nature legislation fitness check

    As part of its Smart Regulation policy the European Commission is to undertake a Fitness Check of EU Nature legislation, which will comprise a comprehensive assessment of whether the regulatory framework is “fit for purpose”. IEEP is part of a consortium, led by Milieu, that has been awarded the study contract to support the Commission in collecting and assessing evidence for the fitness check.

  • Whither the new Commission?

    IEEP’s David Baldock gives his take on the new Commission in the latest edition of our newsletter. Read about how IEEP is raising ambition for the next EU climate and energy package, plus: priorities and policy options for a circular economy, payments for farmland biodiversity achievements, biodiversity proofing EU spending, and more.

  • Guidelines for biodiversity proofing the EU budget

    This report provides a practical framework to ensure that spending under the EU budget has no negative impacts on biodiversity, and that spending under the EU budget is overall supportive to achieving the biodiversity targets.

  • Guidance handbook for financing Natura 2000

    An updated ‘Financing Natura 2000 Guidance Handbook’ aims to inform national stakeholders about opportunities for financing the management of Natura 2000 sites through various EU funds during the 2014-2020 period.

  • Greener Britain: Practical proposals for party manifestos from the environment and conservation sector

    A coalition of the UK’s leading environmental groups, including IEEP, is calling for all political parties to commit to a greener Britain by 2020 by pledging seven major priorities to reform the way we use energy, build communities and protect nature.

  • New guidance for farmland management in Natura 2000

    New guidance for farmland management in Natura 2000 gives agricultural and conservation authorities a step-by-step guide to management and funding measures and practical advice on habitat and species management.

  • On the path to a circular economy

    Read the lastest edition of our newsletter for our views on the circular economy package and much more.

  • Instruments for financing action on invasive alien species in Finland

    A range of examples exist around the world on innovative instruments that can finance, cover or recover the costs of policy action on invasive alien species. A review by IEEP and partners identifies a number of such examples and assesses their pros and cons.

  • High Nature Value farming throughout EU-27 and its financial support under the CAP

    This study reviews Member States’ estimates of the extent of HNV farmland and use of RDP measures and the CMEF indicators, then identifies future priorities for CAP support for HNV farming and discusses the support opportunities under the reformed CAP. It offers detailed new evidence about the combined effect of Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 CAP payments on the economic and environmental viability of a typical HNV farming system in three Member States.

  • New report: High Nature Value Farming in the EU

    Member States need to make the most of the opportunities under the new Common Agricultural Policy if the declines in HNV farming, critical for meeting our 2020 biodiversity targets, are to be halted.

  • Policy Options to Achieve No Net Loss of Biodiversity

    A new IEEP led study concludes that mandatory biodiversity offsetting is required to achieve no net loss of biodiversity in the EU, but its introduction could be counter-productive if it is not introduced cautiously and regulated strictly. The first priority should be to better implement existing nature conservation measures.

  • Agreement on EU invasive alien species regulation

    The European Parliament and the Council have agreed on a final text for the EU regulation on invasive alien species (IAS). Given the difficulties in negotiating the deal, the final text can be considered as a reasonable compromise. When adopted, the regulation will provide a long-awaited framework for addressing IAS at EU level.

  • Environmental policy and the UK’s review of the EU Balance of Competences

    The UK Government’s Balance of Competences review has now taken evidence on 25 subject areas, including the 6 with the most relevance for the Environment. We take stock of the IEEP’s contributions, and consider what a possible UK renegotiation might mean for the environment.