EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030

Why do we need to protect biodiversity?

Biodiversity is essential for life; nature provides for businesses (half of global Gross Domestic Product ,GDP, €40 trillion, depends on nature); the global population of wild species has fallen by 60% over the last 40 years; 1 million species are at risk of extinction; biodiversity loss and the climate crisis are interdependent and they exacerbate each other, etc.

The new EU-wide Biodiversity Strategy will:

  • Establish protected areas for at least: 30% of land in Europe, 30% of sea in Europe, with stricter protection of remaining EU primary and old-growth forests legally binding nature restoration targets in 2021.
  • Restore degraded ecosystems at land and sea across the whole of Europe by: increasing organic farming and biodiversity-rich landscape features on agricultural land, halting and reversing the decline of pollinators, reducing the use and risk of pesticides by 50% by 2030, restoring at least 25 000 km of EU rivers to a free-flowing state, and planting 3 billion trees by 2030.
  • Unlock €20 billion per year for biodiversity through various sources, including EU funds and national and private funding. Natural capital and biodiversity considerations will be integrated into business practices.
  • Put the EU in a leading position in the world in addressing the global biodiversity crisis. The Commission will mobilise all tools of external action and international partnerships for an ambitious new UN Global Biodiversity Framework at the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2021.

The business case for biodiversity: more than half of global GDP, some €40 trillion, depends on nature; 3 key economic sectors (construction, agriculture, food and drink, and they generate more than €7 trillion), and for example benefits of the EU Natura 2000 nature protection network are valued at between €200-300 billion per year.

The economic and social costs of inaction include: the world already lost an estimated €3.5-18.5 trillion per year in ecosystem services from 1997 to 2011, and an estimated €5.5-10.5 trillion per year from land degradation. Biodiversity underpins EU and global food security; biodiversity loss risks put our food systems and nutrition at risk. More than 75% of global food crop types rely on animal pollination. On average, global mean crop yields of rice, maize and wheat are projected to decrease between 3% and 10% per degree of warming above historical levels, etc.

The Natura 2000 network has been estimated to support 104,000 direct jobs in protected areas management and conservation activities and 70,000 more indirect or induced jobs. This is based on annual investment of €6 billion for management and restoration of the network. In the future, it is expected that biodiversity needs could generate up to 500,000 jobs. Of the 25% of the EU budget dedicated to climate action,  a significant proportion will be invested in biodiversity and nature-based solutions.

More information:


Mediterranean Monk Seal and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals

The size of the Mediterranean Monk Seal population of Mauritania’s Atlantic coast is recovering after centuries of continuous decline. The species’ largest colony in the Cabo Blanco peninsula has more than tripled since 2004.  Thanks to the effective implementation of a regional Action Plan, it now numbers 360 individuals. Two decades ago, the Cabo Blanco colony was on the verge of extinction, but the Action Plan under CMS has managed to turn the tide. A similar programme is now emulating the successful strategy for the conservation of a smaller colony of the species in the Madeira islands. The Mediterranean Monk Seals (Monachus monachus) used to thrive throughout the entire Mediterranean Sea—from the eastern Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea. From the 15th century, the seals were hunted for their fur, skin, meat and blubber. These massive persecutions, along with rapid development of coastal areas, decimated a large portion of the species and drove the remaining populations—formerly used to resting and breeding on open beaches– into secluded off-shore caves. At the outset of the 20th century, the species seemed to have gone extinct, until the colony alongside the Cabo Blanco peninsula was discovered in 1945. Half a century later, during the 1994 COP meeting in Nairobi, the CMS Parties encouraged the Range States to embark on a concerted action for the conservation of the Monk Seals, following the Scientific Council’s earlier recommendation. To monitor progress, the Parties agreed on a formal review process to take place in subsequent COP meetings. Then in 1997 an outbreak of algae toxins in the food-chain caused a massive die-off in Cabo Blanco, ultimately killing around 200 seals— two thirds of a colony which had formerly numbered 350. This mass mortality rendered conservation measures to protect the remaining animals all the more urgent.

Under the CMS framework, Spain initiated an Action Plan in 2000 and has implemented it together with Mauritania, Morocco and Portugal. In 2007 the four countries concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to provide an intergovernmental legal and institutional framework for the further implementation of the existing action plan.

The Spanish Foundation ‘CBD-Habitat’ has led the programme since its inception and has carried it out in cooperation with the Mauritanian NGO “Annajah”. The programme is based on three pillars:

  1. A 7km coastal stretch has been designated as a national reserve (“Costa de las Focas” – “The seals’ coast”). This is a succession of cliffs with inaccessible sandy caves where the seals breed and rest. Fishing activities in the surrounding waters as well as people’s access to the cliffs have been banned.
  2. Educational programmes have increased awareness among local communities and provided artisanal fishermen with training in safe and sustainable fishing.
  3. Thirdly, the deployment of new technology facilitated close monitoring of the seals. High resolution cameras capable of self-cleaning and self-repairing and adapted to rough waters were placed inside the breeding caves. GPS trackers attached to the rear flippers of the seals disclose their movements at sea. These help close knowledge gaps and improve protection of the colony.

So far, the Action Plan has yielded impressive results. The size of the Cabo Blanco population has now exceeded the pre-1997 level. Monk Seals are once again making regular use of open beaches across the reserve to breed, while the birth of the first seal pup on an open beach ten years ago was greeted by conservationists as a sensation.

More information

Monk Seal in the Atlantic

MoU on the Mediterranean Monk Seal

Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals:

CBD-Habitat Foundation

Thanks to Itzik Pazuelo, during his internship at the Joint CMS + AEWA Communications Unit.

Project for the conservation of the monk seal in Madeira, Portugal

Our “LIFE Madeira Monk Seal Project” (LIFE13NAT/ES/000974 “Madeiramonkseal”) is coming to an end. The project, executed by Fundación CBD-Hábitat together with Instituto das Florestas e Conservação da Natureza, RAM from 2014 until the end of 2019, has achieved impressive results in monk seal conservation at Madeira archipelago.

The main objective of the Project is to improve awareness and conserve the monk seal in the Madeira archipelago in order to ensure its long-term survival.

The main aims of the “LIFE Madeira Monk Seal” project have been:

  • To provide greater protection for the sites used by the monk seal.
  • Reduce the threat and disturbance caused by fishermen, tourism operators, tourists, and the general population.
  • Increase the Madeira Natural Park Service’s capacity to intervene in the event of threats or dangers to the seals and adopt a conservation plan for the monk seal in Madeira.
  • Develop a conservation status surveillance system for the species and its habitat in Madeira, using non-invasive methods.

The project results and the presentation of the Monk Seal Conservation Action Plan at Madeira will be presented today 27th of november in Funchal, Madeira.

More information:

Ethnology of the Bijagó culture, Guinea Bissau

In addition to the natural heritage, the Bijagós Islands retain an exceptional cultural heritage. The magnificent state of conservation of the archipelago is due to traditions. Because of their beliefs, the Bijagó have their own natural reserves, forests and islands that are untouchable because they are sacred, and where they cannot cultivate, hunt, or bury the dead. Among its symbolic animals are the manatee and the turtles, along with sharks, rays, hammerhead fish and sawfish, beings that they respect and revere.

The Orango Parque Hotel is not just a tourist establishment; it functions as an ecotourism development center in Guinea Bissau National Parks, and particularly in the Bijagos Islands and Orango and Vieira Poilao National Parks. The hotel is also the base of many collaborative projects developed together with IBAP (Instituto da Biodiversidade e das Áreas Protegidas) within the park: conservation projects targeting the manatee and hippopotamus populations in the region, projects designed to reduce conflicts between local people and wildlife, and projects that construct wells or renovate community health centers, among others.

The Bijagó population maintains a strong cultural identity, due to insularity and isolation. The deep respect for their animistic traditions has allowed them to preserve a society with matriarchal structures. They are calm, smiling, hospitable and friendly people, and they have great ethnographic interest.

More information:

Conclusions of the Congress “The Iberian lynx: looking towards the future”

Conservation objectives have been established, it has been emphasized that ex situ breeding centers must continue at full capacity until at least 2030, it has been suggested an “Iberian Lynx Strategy” and a better Governance system.

More information, conclusions, and presentations:

Favorable Conservation Status of the Iberian Lynx

Calculation of potential suitable hábitat in the Iberian Peninsula and Natura 2000 network

Genetics and management of the Iberian Lynx

Identification platform for the Iberian Lynx

The Iberian Lynx ex situ Conservation Program and the FCS: How we get ther

Improving our Governance systems


Collaboration between “The European Nature Trust” and the CBD-Habitat Foundation

We have recently started a collaboration´s project with “The European Nature Trust” (TENT), that is an international foundation to support nature conservation projects, which collaborates with Wandafilms-Wanda Natura, producer of well-known documentaries. Both entities collaborate with the projects of the CBD-Habitat Foundation. TENT dedicates its efforts to the protection of natural sites and the restoration of places of high environmental value, affected by human activity, “to ensure that our planet remains habitable and that we can share it with other species.” His philanthropic philosophy seeks to support high impact conservation initiatives in Europe. With its support to the CBD-Habitat Foundation, TENT continues its action in Spain (already started with the Brown Bear Foundation). This month the technical teams of the CBD-Habitat Foundation and TENT have visited some of the initiatives of conservation and recovery of the Iberian lynx in Andalusia and Extremadura, establishing interesting lines of collaboration and exchange of ideas and experiences, which can cover all CBD-Habitat Foundation projects.


Note: with the support of TENT on May 20 of next year we will attend the premiere of Wanda Natura’s last documentary in London: «Dehesa: the forest of the Iberian lynx», for the benefit of the FCBDH. Thank you!

More information:

Philosophy of “The European Nature Trust”:

Wild places provide the air you breathe, the water you drink and the food you eat. The evidence is now clear: spending time in nature is even integral to mental health and stress relief, physical wellness and development in childhood. Yet still, only 4% of charitable giving focuses on environmental causes. At The European Nature Trust (TENT), we create unique experiences that connect people to wild nature and raise funds for the protection and restoration of European wilderness. Through creating engaging and impactful experiences, through entertaining, motivating and inspiring, TENT change how people and businesses value nature, and therefore ultimately better protect our world. Most importantly, TENT has a 100% promise, 100% of every single donation is directed through the charity to leading conservation projects on the ground, where it matters. So, the goals of TENT are simple: through our activities we support proven conservation projects on the ground in key wilderness areas over the long-term, and above all, connect people to nature.


“Layman” report final summary of the LIFE + “Feeding Savengers” Spanish-English bilingual version

Spain is home to the most important population of necrophagous birds in Europe, both in diversity and in populations. Castilla y León, is the largest autonomous community in Spain, and one of the most unpopulated regions of Europe. Therefore, the responsibility for the conservation of scavenger species rests largely on the Spanish administration and society. In the case of the black vulture, a priority target of the Project, Spain has 95% of the community population.




The first reintroduction project for Mhorr gazelle into the wild

A very interesting publication has just come out about the reintroduction project of the Mohor gazelle (Nanger dama mhorr)!

This project has been a milestone in the conservation of this impressive Sahelo-Saharan species. Currently the populations are very rare and isolated, and is declared “critically endangered“.

Reintroductions continue to be an important conservation action for endangered species. Until this, all reintroduction projects for Mhorr gazelle (Nanger dama mhorr) had remained at the stage where the animals live in fenced protected areas of different sizes. This study describes the first experience of reintroduction of a group of 24 Mhorr gazelle into the wild in the Safia Reserve. The reintroduction was carried out in two phases: in the first one, the entire group was released; then, after an unexpected dogs attack event, part of them were kept safe until this problem was solved. Seven of the gazelles were monitored with telemetry collars, providing previously unavailable data on time allocation, daily rhythm of activity and social organization for the species in the wild. In addition, post-release movements revealed three patterns: during the first few days after release, small daily movements (average 2.78 km) close to the fence, followed by long-distance exploratory movements (up to 50 km) until establish territories; and finally, daily movements between established territories (average 8.39 km). Exceptional long distances (>50 km/day) were traveled after a poaching event. The study has also revealed the ability of the species to select and settle territories in favorable areas, after being kept for generations under captive or semi-captive conditions. However, their inability to recognize predators was demonstrated in an unexpected attack by dogs, resulting in the death of seven released gazelles. This mortality following the dog attack was favored, in part, because the released gazelle remained close to the fence, and therefore suggests that the release procedure should be revised, especially when there are predators in the release site. This study has confirmed that dogs as predators and poaching continue to be the main threat to reintroduction projects.

Very good experience and knowledge, that we will improve to the success of future reintroduction projects.

More information:

The first reintroduction project for mhorr gazelle (Nanger dama mhorr) into the wild: Knowledge and experience gained to support future conservation actions. Abáigar, T et al, Global Ecology and Conservation, 19, art. nº e00680 – 2019.


Exhibition on Bijagos in Guinea Bissau

International Day of Biodiversity under the motto: “Our Biodiversity, Our Food, our Health”. The CBD-Habitat Foundation together with IBAP and Orango Parque Hotel commemorate this day with the inauguration of “The Bijagos Exhibition” at the Guinean Cultural Center of Franco Bissau. The presentation of the exhibition was it made by the Secretary of State for the Environment and the Director of IBAP of Guinea Bissau.

More information:

International Day for Biological Diversity 2019. Theme will be: “Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health”

This year’s celebrations of the International Day for Biological Diversity,on 22 May 2019, (Convention on Biological Diversity,CBD) focus on biodiversity as the foundation for our food and health and a key catalyst to transforming food systems and improving human health. The theme aims to leverage knowledge and spread awareness of the dependency of our food systems, nutrition, and health on biodiversity and healthy ecosystems.

The theme also celebrates the diversity provided by our natural systems for human existence and well-being on Earth, while contributing to other Sustainable Development Goals, including climate change mitigation and adaptation, ecosystems restoration, cleaner water and zero hunger, among others. In the last 100 years, more than 90 percent of crop varieties have disappeared from farmers’ fields. Half of the breeds of many domestic animals have been lost, and all of the world’s 17 main fishing grounds are now being fished at or above their sustainable limits. Locally-varied food production systems are under threat, including related indigenous, traditional and local knowledge.

With this decline, agrobiodiversity is disappearing, and also essential knowledge of traditional local foods. The loss of diverse diets is directly linked to diseases or health risk factors. Decisions from the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, along with reports on biodiversity and health, provide recommendations. In addition, the EAT-Lancet Commission recently published findings on the healthnutrition-food systems-biodiversity nexus, that describe what constitutes a healthy diet from a sustainable food systems perspective, and which actions can support and speed up food systems transformation, in benefit of biodiversity.

The links between biodiversity, ecosystems, and the provision of benefits to human health are deeply entrenched in the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. They are central to our common agenda for sustainable development. This focus on the nexus of biodiversity, food systems and health provides an opportunity to generate discussions on ways to support the post-2020 process for a global biodiversity framework and to help “bend the curve of biodiversity loss by 2030”. In this regard, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity together with a range of partners, including the WHO, FAO, UNICEF, UNESCO, as well as other entities like EAT Foundation and the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU) are working together to identify transformative actions, through global food systems, to advance progress in support of biodiversity, climate, health and other related Sustainable Development Goals.

More information: 

Convention on Biological Diversity

International Day for Biological Diversity 2019

EAT-Lancet Commission

Sustainable Development Goals: