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

  • Evidence before ideology

    The latest edition of IEEP's newsletter is now available. David Baldock argues that in 2015 solid evidence rather than political fashion will be required in scrutinising EU policy and economic performance. Also: fossil fuel subsidies; allocating fishing quota; and the launch of our new training programme.

  • Finland launches its ecosystem service assessment

    Finland joins the ranks of countries that have carried out a dedicated assessment of their ecosystem services. Like similar studies elsewhere, the assessment concludes that ecosystem services underpin the country’s social and economic well-being and should therefore form the basis of the transition to a green economy in Finland.

  • The value and social significance of ecosystem services in Finland (TEEB for Finland)

    TEEB for Finland presents the results of a national assessment of the socio-economic importance of ecosystem services in Finland. It provides a review of the country’s most relevant ecosystem services while also considering opportunities and tools for their sustainable management.

  • The use of eco-accounts in Baden- Württemberg to implement the German Impact Mitigation Regulation: A tool to meet EU’s No-Net-Loss requirement?

    A case study which looks into the extent to which the Eco-accounts in place in Baden-Württemberg in Germany are effective and consistent with the EU’s no-net-loss objective and international offsetting principles.

  • Access IEEP’s definitive guide to European environmental policy

    The award-winning Manual of European Environmental Policy is now available on IEEP’s website. This archive provides free access to the definitive guide to the development of European environmental policy.

  • 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.