The EU Biodiversity Strategy sets out how the EU can put Europe’s biodiversity on the path to recovery by 2030. Voluntary pledges form an important part of the strategy but almost all EU member states have missed even the extended deadline to submit them.
Member states were expected to submit their pledges concerning their contribution to the Trans-European Nature Network, which aims to cover 30% of the EU’s land and 30% of its marine areas by 2030. They were also expected to make pledges that the status of 30% of those species and habitats that are protected under the Birds and the Habitat Directives and currently not in favourable status will improve while all other protected species and habitats will not deteriorate.
The countries should have submitted their pledges originally by the end of 2022 but none of them made the deadline. Additionally, the vast majority of member states missed the extended deadline of 28 February 2023, except for Luxembourg for both pledges and Spain for the protected areas pledge.
To make matters worse, the majority of the countries are unlikely to submit their pledges even in the next two months, which means that we can expect significant delays. EU member states claim that they have failed to meet the deadline because of a lack of data, expert capacity, and the length of the governmental endorsement process.
These delays cast serious doubts about EU member states’ commitment to deliver on the promises of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and to live up to their ambitions to lead by example in delivering the Global Biodiversity Framework.