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European Businesses Call For A Strong Nature Restoration Law


Nature restoration seeks not only the restoration of forest and wetland ecosystems for conservation sake, whereas, the thrust is also on availing multiple benefits from their ecosystem services that can help sustain human life, the natural world, and help bring down the level of the ever rising global-scale temperature which is causing havoc everywhere.


By Salam Rajesh

In a remarkable development on the environmental front, as many as 35 European businesses issued a joint statement last week calling for the enactment of a strong European Union Nature Restoration Law with legally binding targets to address multiple issues on environment degradation and the current debates on climate change impacts.

Describing the call as a move “Beyond short-term profit gains”, the businesses said this was “one more powerful plea in a recent series of growing industry calls to restore natural habitats in the European Union, and save human livelihoods and economic activities from the dire consequences of environmental degradation”.

The call reflects the urgency on the need for “adoption of an ambitious and legally binding EU Nature Restoration Law to bring Nature back to Europe. The EU Nature Restoration Law will be a key tool to tackle our climate and biodiversity crises, and to guarantee the long-term sustainability and viability of our society and economy”.

This development comes at a point of time when the world community views the North (countries in North America and in Europe) as primarily responsible for greenhouse gas emissions and extensive use of fossil fuel for their industries, leading to severity in global warming and other climate processes affecting the entire world.

The move is being viewed by the world community as ‘significant’ as it involves the business community who in other sense contribute to GHG emissions by their large scale commercial activities, and a retraction could bring about a much-needed relief in climate issues.

The businesses, however, are worried as the future of the first EU-wide law to restore Nature is at stake as it “faces strong opposition from conservative decision-makers and anti-nature lobby groups”.

Despite this drawback, the new-law proposers say that “a growing number of more progressive businesses recognize the threats posed by ever-growing biodiversity decline coupled with climate change impacts and voice their support for large-scale nature restoration”.

“These companies look beyond short-term profit and understand that without taking action now, their future economic activities are endangered by supply chain disruptions or reduced access to crucial ecosystem services. In fact, over half of the global GDP, $44 trillion, is potentially threatened by nature loss”.

Voicing the concern, Sabien Leemans, senior biodiversity policy officer, WWF-European Policy Office, says that, “Progressive businesses join a long list of stakeholders calling for a strong Nature Restoration Law, including citizens, non-governmental organizations, the scientific community and other business networks”.

“The Members of the European Parliament and EU Member States must listen to these calls and deliver legislation that Europe desperately needs, fit for tackling both nature and climate crises. Despite shameful attempts of presenting nature restoration as the enemy of farmers, fishers or renewable energy development, this statement is a reminder that we all need resilient ecosystems for our economic activities, human health and the future of humankind”, Leemans asserted.

On an equal footnote, Birdlife Europe’s nature restoration policy officer, Sofie Ruysschaert stresses that, “The increase of floods, droughts, and rising temperatures across Europe and globally, are already shaking the business world with unforeseen, and often unmanageable, disruptions from operations to supply chains. With business models depending on long-term food, water and energy security, companies know that the protection and restoration of nature bring huge benefits, including the creation of jobs and new markets. Every part of society has something to gain from an ambitious Nature Restoration Law. We call on decision-makers to listen to these forward-thinking voices and timely deliver the law to restore nature”.

Following the letters of support from the several business networks and other organizations representing the European Power Sectors to edge forward a EU Nature Restoration Law, the 35 companies operating in diverse sectors from renewable energy to fishing and outdoor industry demanded effective action to tackle biodiversity and climate crises, and to safeguard the future of human societies across Europe and the world.

The companies reaffirmed their conviction and commitment that, “An ambitious EU Nature Restoration Law with legally-binding targets will ensure the continuity of critical ecosystem services and contribute to climate change mitigation, prevention and reduction of natural disasters, improved water quality, cleaner air, healthier soils and the improvement of people’s overall well-being”.

The call for a European Nature Restoration Law resounds very closely to the recent call of the United Nations, that UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres stressed in the UNGA meet during 2021, for a vigorous effort by the world community to restore Nature in its near-natural status as best as is possible to resolve issues that are plaguing the world currently, and which could escalate climate catastrophe in future times if not tackled well in time.

The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030) seeks urgent measures to mitigate climate extremes by urging the world community to formulate strategies which would help restore degraded forest and wetland ecosystems to their near natural status so as to bring equilibrium in balancing the growing human needs with the natural environment. A break in the balance could impact all life forms on this blue planet.

Many parts of the world are presently in the throes of heat waves, with deaths already on the cards, and with the projected worries on possible extreme droughts in these summer months, things are pretty murky for those living at the margin. It is already assessed that women are the more vulnerable group impacted by the changing climatic conditions, and with the heat waves and droughts on the card, life is expected to be tougher for millions of home-making women across the several continents.

Nature restoration seeks not only the restoration of forest and wetland ecosystems for conservation sake, whereas, the thrust is also on availing multiple benefits from their ecosystem services that can help sustain human life, the natural world, and help bring down the level of the ever rising global-scale temperature which is causing havoc everywhere.

It, therefore, is seen that the EU’s move is extremely important and if successful it could persuade other regions to go for a similar law to help Nature leap back to its former self, and thereto resolve all worries on the environmental front – with reference specifically to the climate crises.

(The writer looks at environmental stories through the journalistic lens. He can be reached at [email protected])

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