A Critical Analysis of the Proposed EU Regulation on Nature Restoration: Have the Problems Been Resolved?

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Series Details Volume 31, Number 5, Pages 320-333
Publication Date October 2022
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European biodiversity is on a steep decline, in part due to climate change, pollution, overexploitation and changes in land use. In light of this decline, the Habitats Directive, the cornerstone of EU nature conservation law, has been the subject of critique. It can be observed that the Directive suffers from lacklustre (binding) norms on nature restoration – from connectivity restoration to climate change adaptation. However, in June of 2022, the European Commission published a proposal for a Regulation on Nature Restoration, which supplements the existing regimes within EU nature conservation law – and introduces regimes meant to restore biodiversity within the EU.

In turn, this article discusses whether the gaps, weak norms and systematic issues found within the Habitats Directive, related to the restoration of ecosystems, have been sufficiently addressed by this Proposal. It finds that the introduction of specific norms on nature restoration, which are equipped with a historic baseline and subsequent deadlines, do address key gaps within modern- day nature conservation law – whilst taking on a more holistic approach to restoration. However, additional tweaks are still desirable to fully address the gaps within the Habitats Directive as, for example, quantifiable targets for connectivity restoration and the reintroduction of species are still missing. Further questions can be raised regarding the robustness of the overarching target, the mitigation of pollution in natural habitats, and the comprehensiveness and flexibility of its annexes.

Source Link https://doi.org/10.54648/eelr2022021
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