Decisive vote in favour of the Nature Restoration Law and wetlands 

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Great news! In a tense voting session on 27 February 2024, the European Parliament supported the European Union’s Nature Restoration Law. This sends a clear signal to the 27 Member States that are now asked to approve it. Whilst this is not a foregone conclusion, it is widely expected that this will move ahead before the upcoming European elections in June.  

 Make no mistake, the Nature Restoration Law is significant. It is the first EU law to set binding restoration targets for EU Member States, in line with their commitments under the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework  adopted under the UN Convention on Biodiversity. It is also arguably the most significant piece of binding legislation on nature restoration in the world, positioning the EU as a frontrunner and setting the bar high for countries outside its borders. 

For wetlands, so often the “Cinderella” of the natural world, it is very exciting with 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 Law received a lot of support from citizens, businesses, NGOs for its potential to help achieving EU biodiversity and climate objectives. Wetlands International Europe and allies were active in supporting targets on wetland ecosystems throughout the development of the law and as part of the campaign #RestoreNature which is supported by 210 NGOs.  In particular, we focused our energy and expertise on one of the hottest topics in the negotiations: peatlands. We are delighted and proud to see that through our collective efforts, EU countries have committed to restore at least 30% of drained peatlands by 2030 (at least a quarter shall be rewetted), 40% by 2040 and 50% by 2050 (where at least one-third shall be rewetted). 

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.  

We look forward to celebrating the final adoption of the law and working with our members, NGO and government partners to realise its ambitions! 

“The adoption of the Nature Restoration Law will show that the EU is committed to a nature-positive future, recognising the accompanying multitude of benefits. Nature, and wetlands in particular, support our biodiversity, economies and our well-being. Healthy wetlands in the EU will help us mitigate and adapt to climate change, make us more water resilient, and boost our local biodiversity. Wetlands International Europe looks forward to working with our network and allies in realising the ambitions of the Nature Restoration Law.” Chris Baker, Director, Wetlands International Europe.