Time to get the Nature Restoration Law across the line

Environmental Pillar welcomes intervention by EU Environment Ministers supporting the law

The Environmental Pillar, Ireland’s environmental NGO advocacy coalition, has welcomed the intervention by EU environment ministers supporting the Nature Restoration Law to have the law approved at the upcoming Environment Council meeting on June 17th.

In a letter to Environment Ministers of non-signatory Member States, signed by 10 countries including Ireland, Germany and France, they called on all colleagues in the Environment Council to support the Nature Restoration Law agreement as it was adopted by the European Parliament.

Citing the intertwined nature and climate crises, the Ministers highlighted that nature restoration is necessary to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, and to safeguard European food security. They added that failure of EU leaders to act decisively would risk undermining public faith in their political leadership within Europe but also internationally.

Dr. Elaine McGoff, Environmental Pillar spokesperson and Head of Advocacy with An Taisce, said: “We strongly welcome this necessary and urgent intervention by the EU environment ministers supporting the Nature Restoration Law.

“Our planet is suffering from the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change, with Europe now the fastest warming continent on the planet. The Nature Restoration Law is a framework of targets designed to drive the recovery of nature across Europe, both inside and outside of protected areas, across land and sea and into the heart of our cities. It recognises the interconnected nature of biodiversity loss and climate change and the threat that both pose to food security and economic stability. Failure to act now will lead to irreversible breakdowns in vital ecosystems and a worsening climate crisis.

“The law has widespread support from EU citizens and there was an unprecedented level of engagement by EU civil society in the NRL negotiations and the democratic processes that underpinned the adoption of a compromise agreement. European citizens, more than 200 civil society organisations, scientists and industry have been demanding that the EU restore our seas, agricultural lands, peatlands and forests with a robust Nature Restoration Law.

Fintan Kelly, Agriculture and Land Use Policy and Advocacy Officer with the Environmental Pillar, said: “Given the overwhelming public support for this law, if rogue Member States are successful in scuppering the approval of this carefully negotiated agreement then it raises serious concerns about the state of democracy within the EU and the credibility of its institutions at a time when politics is already becoming dangerously polarised .” 

“The failure of the EU to adopt the Nature Restoration Law not only jeopardises Europe’s ability to respond to biodiversity loss and climate change but it risks derailing international efforts to restore nature given that the Nature Restoration Law is essential if the European Commission and Member States like Ireland are going to deliver on the promises they made under the new UN’s Global Biodiversity Framework.”  

“The current impasse needs to be overcome and we also are calling for the Belgian presidency and all Member States to work to progress the law to completion before June.