The Knowledge Centre will make the latest knowledge about biodiversity available to strengthen the impact of EU policies. The Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity will provide:
- A one-stop shop for key information about biodiversity and the impact of related policies;
- A platform where progress of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 can be monitored;
- An interface for scientists to network, share research results and channel them more effectively to support EU policies.
Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius said: “Only what gets measured gets done. If we want to deliver on the EU Biodiversity Strategy, we need to better connect all the dots, and for this we need sound data. Be it on the status of pollinators, environmental impact of pesticides, the value of nature for business or the economic rationale of nature-based solutions. We also need to make full use of the digital transformation, Earth observation and citizen science. The new knowledge centre will bring all this together, improving the way we generate and manage biodiversity knowledge.”
The assessment finds that we are becoming more and more dependent on our ecosystems, which themselves are under increasing pressure from climate change and its related impacts.
There are some positive signs, such as the 13 million hectare increase in Europe’s forests between 1990 and 2015 and the growth of organic farms, which now make up 7% of Europe’s agricultural land.
However, the outlook for biodiversity is a cause for concern. Right now, 76% of the EU’s terrestrial ecosystems currently have no legal designation: forests, agroecosystems, urban green spaces and soils are largely unprotected.
Pollinator species are under pressure: the index measuring the abundance of grassland butterfly populations in Europe has fallen by 39% since 1990.
Europe’s rivers and lakes see less pollution and water abstraction than they did in 2000, but the speed of improvement has slowed down. Only 39% of freshwater bodies currently have good ecological status.
Several other trends are currently difficult to measure and assess, which hampers effective policy action. Europe’s seas are protected by a comprehensive policy framework, but data gaps limit the analysis of trends in the inputs of nutrients, contaminants, and litter.
In contrast, Europe’s freshwater ecosystems are constantly monitored through a network of tens of thousands of monitoring stations in rivers and lakes. However, of the 132 unique indicators used in this monitoring, only two report biodiversity in a consistent and harmonised way. This makes it impossible to assess species diversity trends at the European scale.
The urgency of the current situation and the inherently complex and multi-dimensional aspects of biodiversity conservation require new ways of working. In this context, enhanced scientific support to all policymakers has a crucial role to play. This is where the Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity comes in.
You can search the Knowledge Base here: https://ec.europa.eu/knowledge4policy/biodiversity_en