The EU’s efforts for nature protection culminated at the end of January 2023 with the new “deal for pollinators”, which are crucial for reversing negative effects of climate change, protecting peoples’ diets, farmers’ wellbeing and restoring the number of declining and critically endangered species. Some parts of solution are about implementing integrated conservation measures, pest management in farming and reduction in the use of pesticides.
Pollinators need stronger protection in the EU member states: the extinction of pollinators would cause ecosystems to fall apart. In order to avoid a disaster, the Commission adopted a “new deal for pollinators” aimed at reversing their decline by the year 2030.
Scientists say that four out of every five flowering plants need pollinators; however, numerous pollinator species are presently on the verge of extinction: e.g. one third of all bees, butterflies and hoverfly species are now in steep decline.
More in: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/da/speech_23_348
Three main broad action areas
It is evident that pollinators decline is a complex issue; there are no simple solutions, as the process of reversing the trend of pollinators decline requires multiple approaches. Probably, the Commission acknowledges, “the rapid adoption of new Nature Restoration Law” would be a great help in implementing UN global targets on sustainability by 2030.
However, generally, most of the present Commission’s actions are in one direction, i.e. to tackle the root causes of pollinators decline. The following actions are suggested:
The first action area is better conservation of species and habitats by using specific for the EU member states’ conservation plans for threatened species under threat. The Commission will identify pollinators that are typical of habitats protected under the existing Habitats Directive, and the member states will adopt prompt actions to step up protection measures.
This will also include a new initiative called buzz lines – a blueprint for a network of ecological corridors for pollinators. Besides, there will also be a new push to enhance pollinator habitats in urban areas.
The second action area is restoring habitats in the EU agricultural production, as a great percentage of the member states’ land area is farmland. Hence, the Commission intends to step-up support in the Common Agricultural Policy for pollinator-friendly farming.
The third action refers to mitigating the impact of pesticide use; although the use of pesticides is vital for growth, it is also a significant factor in pollinator decline; hence the need to mitigate the impact of pesticide use.
There are some other factors driving pollinator decline. Therefore, this revised initiative refers to additional actions, such as tackling the impacts of climate change, invasive alien species as well as other threats like light pollution.
Success will depend on three things:
a) First of all, on coordinating action across sectoral policies; for example, it is vital for agriculture, health and environment policies to work in close cooperation. That is exactly the way that is envisaged in the EU biodiversity strategy and “Farm to Fork” concept.
b) Secondly, on establishing a more robust system for monitoring pollinators and enhancing research.
c) Thirdly, on mobilising and engaging with all actors concerned by the implementation of this new deal for pollinators: policymakers, scientists, citizens, farmers and businesses.
The present Commission’s initiative puts a strong emphasis on actions to be carried out by national, regional and local authorities in the member states. The EU institutions and bodies will render all necessary support in the states’ governance efforts to identify and get rid of the causes of the problem.