Following trilogue negotiations late into the evening of 9th November, agreement has been reached that the Nature Restoration Law (NRL) will restore at least 20% of the EU’s land and sea areas by 2030. The target for all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050 has been retained. Member states must put measures in place by 2030 to restore at least 30% of habitats in poor condition. Member states must also establish measures to restore at least 60% of habitats in poor condition by 2040 and at least 90% by 2050.
Although all ecosystems originally covered by the draft Law are still included in the agreement, the articles have been watered down compared to the Commission’s original proposal and the Council’s position. The legislation also contains many exemptions and considerable flexibility in Member States’ obligations.
Different restoration targets will apply to different ecosystems and Member States will decide on the specific measures to be applied in their territory. To this end, they will develop national restoration plans, setting priorities according to restoration needs and measures adapted to the local context, as well as a timetable for their implementation. The plans are expected to be developed with the involvement of local communities and civil society, and should seek synergies towards climate change mitigation, adaptation, and disaster prevention, as well as agriculture and forests. Specific targets will be set for different ecosystems such as rivers, terrestrial, urban, and marine.
The agreement now needs to be approved by member states and put to a crucial vote in the European Parliament’s environment committee later this year. At this stage, conservative groups may try to weaken the legislation again. However, if the proposal successfully passes the next steps, it will go to a final plenary vote in Parliament, which is expected to take place in December 2023.
Once adopted and implemented in EU Member States, the legislation is expected to make a significant contribution to achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and to increasing Europe’s preparedness and resilience to the impacts of the climate crisis. It is noted that Member States committed themselves to the objectives of the new law under the Kunming-Montréal Global Biodiversity Framework at COP15 in December 2022.
The proposal for a Nature Restoration Law received unprecedented support from over a million citizens, businesses, scientists and many other stakeholders.
Nature Restoration Law Emerges from Trilogue – What’s Changed? arc.2020.eu
Commission welcomes agreement between European Parliament and Council on Nature Restoration Law. ec.europa.eu
RestoreNature Press Release, November 10th, 2023. clientearth.org