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).
To reverse the decline of pollinators, stakeholders across the EU need to take up pollinator-friendly practices. In support of the EU Pollinators initiative, IEEP has surveyed what is being done for pollinators in all Member States and has produced guidance to promote best practice for agricultural managing authorities, farmers, farm advisors, and citizens.
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive (SUD) are two key EU policies that present opportunities to tackle the pressures intensive agricultural practices and pesticides place on pollinators. In support of the EU Pollinators initiative, IEEP has authored two reports evaluating to what extent these policies currently deliver for pollinator conservation.
In creating a sustainable and healthy food system, reducing the pressure on the environment is key. As a non-chemical and targeted input, biocontrol can offer a systemic and balanced solution for sustainable agriculture. This new report explores the benefits of biocontrol and the role it could play in the implementation of the European Green Deal.
To celebrate World Environment Day 2021, we took the opportunity to interview a biodiversity policy expert from one of our Think Sustainable Europe Platform members, The Green Tank from Greece. Ιoli Christopoulou is a partner and policy director at the Green Tank specialising in biodiversity policy and spoke to us about the progress Greece has made in reaching its biodiversity targets and the challenges and opportunities that remain in the upcoming years.
Protected and conserved areas benefit sustainable development and can be effective tools to deliver SDGs around the world.
The OECM framework provides ample opportunity to promote biodiversity conservation in the EU, can complement existing protected areas across landscapes and seascapes and contribute to achieving ambitious conservation targets. Nevertheless, the concept is still new, especially in the EU, and their role needs to be carefully evaluated.
Transitioning to pollinator-friendly farming practices is key to the recovery of pollinators. IEEP has been contributing to EU action for pollinators through a project supporting the implementation of the EU Pollinators Initiative. This included work identifying key measures and recommendations to improve farmland pollinator conservation.
Healthy multifunctional soils are key to put the European Green Deal and the Farm to Fork strategy into action. In light of the consultation on the new Soil Strategy, IEEP puts forward three main recommendations to ensure soils are adequately considered and protected in future EU initiatives.
This guidance document provides key principles and best practices to mitigate the negative impacts of human activities on nature, and to achieve no net loss or, ideally, net gains in biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Agriculture is out of the green list for climate action, risking its access to much needed private capital to support the sector in both its sustainability transition and in responding to the adaptation needs in light of a changing climate.
This briefing provides an overview of the wide range of socio-economic benefits that nature-based solutions can achieve alongside addressing the intertwined climate change and biodiversity loss crises.
This briefing explores how European policies and the COVID-19 recovery efforts can better reflect the impact of the natural environment on people's mental health
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on our health, social and economic well-being. To avert future crises from spiralling out of control, strategies to prevent pandemics need to be in place before the next outbreak occurs. Until now, this has not been the case.
We look back at October’s tumultuous CAP and biodiversity week and reflect on its implications for the achievement of the European Green Deal’s biodiversity objectives and the fresh EU commitments for an ambitious new global deal for nature.
A scoping study prepared by IEEP and partners fed into an EEA briefing on the management effectiveness in the EU's Natura 2000 network of protected areas.
This policy brief examines the way that soil is incorporated into the EU climate policy architecture and gives recommendations for enhancing its position in that architecture.
As countries aim to 'build back better' from the COVID-19 crisis, the global loss of biodiversity remains a matter requiring urgent action.
IEEP has led the production of a new guidance document to support better implementation of the EU nature directives and Natura 2000. This document aims to answer frequently asked questions on how the EU Invasive Alien Species Regulation can support the implementation of the EU Habitats and Birds Directives.
IEEP has co-authored the first EU Habitat Action Plan – for dry calcareous grasslands. The Habitat Action Plans aim to help drive forward the restoration of key habitats and species across the EU.
To celebrate the annual Natura 2000 day, IEEP's biodiversity intern Anya Coutinho spoke to Dr Mike Clarke, who recently became an IEEP associate and is the former Chief Executive of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.