Wetlands in the EU Nature Restoration Law

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Wetlands International Europe, which represents 11 member organisations working to protect and restore wetland ecosystems across the continent, believes a strong EU Nature Restoration Law is needed to secure the future of our vital wetlands. On this page, you can learn more about our position on this key legislative proposal, including links to relevant publications and events. The page will be updated as the legislative process develops.

Many of Europe’s wetlands have either disappeared or become heavily degraded over previous centuries, due to drainage for agriculture or infrastructure, pollution, over-exploitation or the effects of climate change. However, they are key ecosystems, contributing to many of the EU’s environmental, climate, biodiversity and social goals.

Aerial image of a paludiculture test site near Malchin in north-east Germany. Paludiculture is the practice of farming on wet peatland. Photo: AESA aerial

Wetlands provide a number of important services to societies, including securing clean drinking water, filtering pollutants, contributing to mitigating and adapting to climate change, reducing the risk of disasters such as floods, habitat for numerous species, and are sites for recreational activities. The multi-faceted nature of wetlands means that protecting and restoring them is an efficient way of contributing to achieving numerous EU goals in environmental, climate and biodiversity policy. The EU Nature Restoration Law can provide a catalyst to unlock the potential of wetland restoration.

The European Commission presented the long-awaited proposal for an EU Nature Restoration Law on 22 June 2022. The draft law, which aims to restore Europe’s degraded ecosystems, habitats and species, is a positive development for EU environmental policy. However, it has room for improvement. Our position on how the law can work better for wetland ecosystems, for the benefit of European societies and further afield, is outlined in the following document:

Wetlands International Europe position on the EU Nature Restoration Law



EU Nature Restoration Law under discussion

On 12 January 2023, MEP César Luena, the European parliamentarian from the Environment Committee (ENVI) leading the EU legislature’s response to the proposal, presented his draft report on the proposed Nature Restoration Law (see link below).

Sponge area near the Hoge Venen Belgium. Wetlands act as natural sponges, providing a key role in avoiding natural disasters such as the 2021 European floods that caused hundreds of deaths and widespread damage.

In general, the draft report further strengthens the proposal; however, it requires stronger measures on peatlands to set the EU in line with its biodiversity and climate change commitments.

The other European Parliament committees responsible for the Nature Restoration Law proposal, the Fisheries (PECH) and Agriculture (AGRI) committees, have presented their proposed amendments to the legislative draft. EU countries are also discussing their position on the law.

We, in collaboration with our network, are working to ensure the timely adoption of a Nature Restoration Law that works for our vital wetland ecosystems.

Return to this page for further updates on the latest developments on the Nature Restoration Law.

Wetlands International Europe joined over 200 NGOs asking decision-makers to adopt a strong and urgent implementation of the law that can curb the nature and climate crises. Join the #RestoreNature campaign.


Nature Restoration Law links

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