Historic moment for wetlands: Nature Restoration Law adopted!

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This morning 17 June, the ENVI Council finally approved the Nature Restoration Law. This is a historic and overdue moment, after intense negotiations. This shows support for one of the flagship initiatives of the EU Green Deal, post-EU elections, despite being one of the most controversial files. 

The law aims to put measures in place to restore at least 20% of the EU’s land and sea areas by 2030, and all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050. 

The legislation is expected to enable the upscaling of wetlands solutions, stimulate funding and large-scale national and local efforts to restore degraded ecosystems to address climate change and disaster risk reduction.Targets that will boost biodiversity, lock-in carbon, improve resilience to drought and floods and purify water by reviving millions of hectares of wetlands, notably:  

  • Rewetting 858,000 hectares of degraded peatland habitats and peatlands under agricultural use by 2050; 
  • Rewilding and restoring 25,000km of European rivers and streams to free-flowing conditions by 2030   

The negotiations have faced opposition from conservative fringes, but these were addressed in the compromises reached during the negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council. 

The law received support from some active Member States, citizens, NGOs, and businesses. A recent poll indicated that, in countries not backing the law, 75 % of the citizens were in support of its adoption.  

Wetlands International Europe followed and influenced the difficult negotiations for the adoption of the text to support an ambitious law to restore nature. This follows the adoption of the law by the European Parliament in February 2024 and seals the negotiations for the adoption of the file. The regulation will now be published in the EU’s Official Journal and enter into force, becoming directly applicable in all Member States. 

Across Europe, restoration projects are taking place to restore wetlands such as the ALFA Wetlands, WaterLANDS, Wet Horizons, Rewet, and contributing to generate data to feed into the Nature Restoration Law.