The EU Eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS) has the potential to help any organisation improve its performances related to integrating references to biodiversity in the initial environmental review and in the final reporting of registered organisations, EMAS provides a coherent framework within which to address biodiversity aspects in an inclusive manner. This guidance document is useful to those professionals involved in identifying and addressing the biodiversity related aspects which can be complex for any organisation.

European society faces a range of health and social issues that merit urgent attention. The EU health sector represents 15% of public expenditure and health care costs are expected to increase.

As part of our work on the refit of the Birds and Habitats directives ENEP has now formally responded to the open consultation. The consultation that closed on Friday 24th July saw the the largest number of consultation responses ever received to a European Commission public consultation.

A recent study by the NGO Birdlife International has concluded that we are far from halting biodiversity loss, as many plants and animals are threatened with extinction in the EU. Where protection through EU nature legislation has been enforced, biodiversity declines have been turned around, as shown by beavers, cranes, wolves and eagles coming back to many countries in Europe. However the status of more than 20% of the species protected under EU nature legislation and more than 30% of the protected habitats have deteriorated over the last years.

In its contribution to the open consultation held in light of the refit of the Birds and Habitats directives, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) has stressed that poor implementation and a perceived lack of urgency by Member States should be seen as the primary causes for deficiencies in outcomes.According to the latest results from the Article 17 of the Habitats Directive only 16% of European Habitats and 23% of community interest are in favourable conservation status.[1]

As part of its Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT), the European Commission is undertaking a Fitness Check of the EU nature legislation, the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive ('the Nature Directives'), which will involve a comprehensive assessment of whether the current regulatory framework is “fit for purpose”.

A consultation launched by the European Commission in the summer of 2014 has advised against legislation to underpin controversial biodiversity offsetting.

The initiative is planned because at present there is no requirement to compensate for damage to nature outside the Natura 2000 network of protected habitats, leading to a net loss of biodiversity over time. The EU has a target of halting biodiversity loss by 2020.

In April 2015 the European Commission will launch a 12-week consultation with the aim of reviewing the Birds and Habitats Directives. Publications that might contribute to the review are currently collated in collaboration with the public affairs consultancy Milieu.

This coincides with the proposal by CIIEM to set up a new Thematic Task Force that aims to monitor the review and ensure that the voices of environmental professionals are heard. The review also coincides with ENEP’s preparation for Green Week 2015, which will fittingly focus on nature and biodiversity this year.

The 2015 edition of Green Week, the biggest annual conference on European environment policy, will take place from 3 to 5 June at The Egg Conference Centre, Rue Bara, in Brussels. The theme will be nature and biodiversity.