Brussels, 15 June — This morning, the European Parliament’s Environment Committee (ENVI) narrowly voted against the move to reject the EU Nature Restoration Law, allowing the negotiations to continue over this vital piece of legislation for the restoration of Europe’s degraded habitats, including wetlands, and threatened biodiversity.
The ENVI Committee did not support the Nature Restoration Law by a margin of one vote. The ENVI decision came after the Agriculture (AGRI) and Fisheries (PECH) Committees rejected the proposed law last month.
“We welcome that MEPs in the European Parliament’s ENVI Committee voted against the move, pushed by the European People’s Party, to reject the Nature Restoration Law. However, it is disappointing that MEPs passed proposals to water down targets on the restoration of ecosystems on agricultural land, including scrapping the targets for peatlands drained for agriculture,” said Wetlands International Europe’s Director, Chris Baker. “The EU needs a strong Nature Restoration Law and peatlands restoration targets to meet its international commitments set out in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, agreed last year at COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity. To align itself with the Framework, the EU should increase the target to restore at least 20% of its ecosystems in need of restoration by 2030 to a target of 30%.
It was widely expected that a rejection by the ENVI Committee could signal the end of the Nature Restoration Law. The ENVI Committee did not have the time to complete voting on all the proposed amendments, so voting will continue on 27 June, including its final approval of the text.
The good: the ENVI Committee supported some of the compromise amendments proposed by MEP César Luena, the Rapporteur, and the political groups the Socialists & Democrats, Renew, Greens and The Left, notably on marine ecosystems, rivers, pollinators, reporting and monitoring. Some of the proposals represent an improvement on the Commission’s original proposal.
The bad: MEPs approved proposals to water down targets for the restoration of ecosystems on agricultural land, including an EPP proposal scrapping restoration targets for peatlands drained for agriculture.
This week, 52 organisation sent a letter to the European Parliament President Roberta Metsola and the Prime Minister of Sweden Ulf Kristersson, which currently holds the Council’s rotating presidency, calling for them to adopt peatlands restoration targets and to at least maintain the level of ambition of those in the Commission’s proposal. Peatlands are critically important ecosystems for tackling the interconnected climate and biodiversity crises.