EBCD in 2021
Despite the uncertainty of the pandemic and the related restrictions, EBCD has managed to maintain its voice in Brussels and internationally.
Working towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Secretariat of the European Parliament Intergroup on “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development”, which is provided by EBCD, successfully adjusted to the COVID-19 pandemic situation by managing the organization of 30 high-level online events in 2021. This has been possible thanks to the fast-paced European Green Deal and related developments, as well as the unmatched interest of stakeholders and committed action of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from all political groups and parliamentary committees. The above contributed to boosting the EP Intergroup’s visibility in the Brussels’ policy-making circles and facilitated a stronger dialogue and cooperation among different stakeholders with regards to the EU’s environmental and climate objectives.
With regards to fisheries and maritime affairs at the EU level, EBCD has actively participated in the various Advisory Councils of the European Commission (DG MARE) namely the Long Distance (LDAC), the North Western Waters (NWWAC), the North Sea (NSAC) and the Pelagic Advisory Council (PELAC). EBCD holds the Vice-chair position of the Executive committee of the NWWAC. Leading on the regionalization of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) with a focus on environmental issues, EBCD has also been chairing the Ecosystem Working Group of the NSAC and the Climate & Environment Focus Group of the NWWAC. EBCD also continued to engage with the European Parliament and the European Commission with a focus on sustainable food systems, biodiversity, climate change and ocean governance.
At the international level, focusing on the ecosystem approach to fisheries and the interface between fisheries management and marine conservation EBCD actively participated in the numerous intersessional meetings of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), including the CBD, CITES and BBNJ. By coordingating the Fisheries Expert Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN FEG), EBCD also provided scientific and technical support in advancing progress on fisheries-related issues in the context of global environmental governance developments, including the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Moreover, EBCD participated in the IUCN World Conservation Congress held in Marseille, organizing an event on the interface between fisheries management and biodiversity conservation. Finally, EBCD also participated in the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow where it organized two events – one hybrid and one virtual – in collaboration with the European Commission and the Regional Government of Galicia, Spain.
Looking ahead to 2022
Oceans, biodiversity and climate change remain high in the international policy agenda for the year ahead – meaning that 2022 will be another busy year for EBCD.
All major international meetings postponed from 2020 and 2021 are now scheduled to take place in 2022. These include the adoption of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework at the UN Biodiversity Conference, the (hopefully) last round of negotiations for a Legally Binding Instrument on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the UN Ocean Conference on SDG 14 as well as the IMPAC 5 (the international Congress for Marine Protected Areas), among many others. EBCD and the IUCN Fisheries Expert Group are planning ahead to provide scientific and technical assistance to support key decisions for the future of global environmental governance.
It will also be an important year for EU fisheries and aquaculture as the Common Fisheries Policy will be subject to an evaluation from the Commission and to an initiative report of the EP PECH Committee. As mentioned in the 2030 Biodiversity Strategy, the Commission will release an Action Plan to conserve fisheries resources and protect marine ecosystems. The revision of EU control systems will carry on, and the fisheries and aquaculture products marketing standards will also undergo a revision. This will be in the center of discussions for the year to come and EBCD will closely follow these.
Looking ahead, the EP Intergroup’s policy priorities for 2022 are well-connected to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), linked with the key priorities laid out by the French and Czech Presidencies of the Council of the European Union, alongside the European Commission Work Plan for 2022. The EP Intergroup will support a strong dialogue around key EU policy areas for 2022 such as the European Green Deal, the Fit for 55 Package, the Zero Pollution Package, the new Urban Mobility Framework, the Circular Economy Action Plan and all their comprising strategies.
Particular attention will be given to energy related files, such as Revision of the Market Stability Reserve for the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) and the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), as well as the political actions on biodiversity and agriculture with the revision of the Sustainable Use of Pesticides and the New Legal Framework on the Restoration of Healthy Ecosystems. Last but not least, circular economy is foreseen to be amongst the top priorities the EU’s policy making-agenda for 2022 with the release of the Sustainable Product Initiative (SPI), the Policy framework for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics and the Initiative on the right to repair.
In conclusion, EBCD will focus its activities on the main priorities set out at the European and international level while building on scientific and technical expertise to guide the development and implementation of coherent and effective sustainable development policies.