Wetlands in the EU Nature Restoration Law

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Wetlands International Europe, which represents 13 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 the proposed law, our position on the draft, links to relevant publications and events, and take action to encourage policymakers to adopt strong rules. The page will be updated as the legislative process develops.

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Legislative timeline

  • 22 June 2022: European Commission presents its long-awaited proposal for an EU Nature Restoration Law
  • 12 January 2023: César Luena, the MEP from the Environment Committee (ENVI) leading the proposal through the European Parliament, presents his draft report on the proposed Nature Restoration Law
  • 16 March 2023: EU environment ministers discuss the proposal
  • 23 May 2023: AGRI Committee vote
  • 24 May 2023: PECH Committee vote
  • 15 June 2023: ENVI Committee vote
  • 20 June 2023: Environment Council sets out its general position
  • July 2023: European Parliament vote in plenary on the proposed law

Why the law matters for wetlands

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. The EU Nature Restoration Law, which will set rules for the restoration of Europe’s degraded ecosystems, habitats and species, can provide a catalyst to unlock the potential of wetland restoration.

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. An EU Nature Restoration Law that sets strong measures for the restoration of wetlands can help to unlock their potential, for the benefit of people and nature.

Aerial image of a paludiculture test site near Malchin in north-east Germany. The draft Nature Restoration Law contains targets for peatland rewetting and recognises paludiculture – farming on wet or rewetted peatland – as an alternative use for these areas. Photo: AESA aerial