Red squirrel in Finland

Public participation essential for designing EU Action Plan for nature

The European Commission needs to ensure that the public can have their say in how Europe’s wildlife laws are effectively used to protect nature.

ClientEarth has told the Commission that public participation will be key to developing an Action Plan for implementing the Birds and Habitats Directives.

The Commission has committed to an Action Plan to ensure better implementation of the Nature Directives. The first step has been a public consultation for a roadmap to set out the priorities for the Action Plan.

In December last year, the Commission announced that the fitness check of the Nature Directives proved these laws are strong and fit for purpose. The Commission also declared a commitment to better implementation and funding, essential to reverse biodiversity loss in Europe. The announcement followed a record-breaking response to the potential revision of these laws, with over 500,000 responses from across Europe.

The Commission has previously stated that the Action Plan will provide guidance for better implementation and enforcement of the Directives at national and regional level. This will include incentivising national and local governments to invest in nature.

ClientEarth lawyer Alice Puritz said: “We would like to see the Commission setting out a clear timetable for the Action Plan. It is important that the public is able to have its say on the Plan’s contents. Currently there are very high-level thoughts from the Commission and we look forward to seeing these issues fleshed out in more detail, together with concrete ways in which these goals can be achieved, in a draft Action Plan.

“We now invite the Commission to commit to a transparent process that also ensures effective public participation.”

The Roadmap sets out a number of areas that the Plan will need to address, including finding better implementation approaches, improving compliance, strengthening investment, improving access to knowledge and promoting stakeholder an public engagement.

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Arto Alanenpää

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