Historic victory for European nature: Nature Restoration Law passed

After a troubled legislative process, marked by an unprecedented campaign of disinformation by the agro-industrial lobbies, the EU Environment Council showed leadership by adopting the historic Nature Restoration Law. The lack of leadership and negotiating capacity on climate and environment of the Italian government, which has - uselessly - opposed the measure, is extremely serious.

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© Lucas Allmann on Pexels

The EU Member States kept their commitments and, respecting the previous vote of the European Parliament, approved the Nature Restoration Regulation with a qualified majority. Austria’s vote was decisive, as it changed its previous position and allowed the approval.

An extraordinary result that rewards the commitment of the #RestoreNature coalition, composed of BirdLife Europe, ClientEarth, EEB and WWF Europe, and that takes up the call of civil society and the world of scientific research. This achievement is the result of a massive public mobilisation: over the last years, more than one million signatures and messages from citizens have been collected, repeated appeals from more than 6000 scientists, 100 companies, youth and civil society organisations to defend the integrity of the EU Green Deal.

The vote on 17 June is a long-awaited victory for European nature and for citizens who have long demanded immediate action to tackle the alarming decline of nature that is damaging the health of the Planet and its inhabitants. The Nature Restoration Law will make a big difference for Europe’s degraded ecosystems, but now the ‘real’ work begins: we need Member States to implement this law properly in their countries, in close cooperation with all stakeholders.

The law faced one of the most tumultuous journeys in the history of European legislation. After surviving an unprecedented disinformation campaign aimed at undermining its entire framework in the European Parliament, the law risked being rejected on its final passage through the Environment Council.

This is an important achievement to be presented at the upcoming UN Conference on Biodiversity (CBD COP16) at the end of the year, demonstrating that Europe can take a leadership role in addressing the climate and biodiversity crises, while delivering on its global commitments. It is also a very clear message ahead of the next 5 years of the European Parliament and Commission: biodiversity and climate are and must remain a strategic priority of the new legislature.

Dante Caserta, WWF Italy’s Head of Legal and Institutional Affairs, says: “We are very pleased with the approval of the Nature Restoration Law, a historic victory for European civil society that defends the environment and wants to build a balanced relationship between man and nature. It is a pity that in a crucial step for the protection of nature in Europe, the Meloni government has clamorously missed its appointment with history, ideologically opposing a cardinal measure of the European Green Deal and choosing the disinformation of agro-industry lobbies against the interests of citizens. In any case, the government cannot now avoid implementing the regulation at the national level by defining a national plan with clear, concrete and binding objectives. The WWF will closely monitor this long process of implementation of the Nature Restoration Law and trusts that the Government and the Ministry of the Environment and Energy Security will want to open a serious and participatory dialogue with all the interested parties to embark on a common path that will lead to effective environmental protection for the benefit of all citizens”.

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