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Biodiversity and the European Community

Sunday 4th December 2011

Biodiversity and the European Community

On May 3, 2011, the European Commission published a “Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions” called (optimistically) “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020”.

It contains the usual folderol, but there is a very interesting section in “Target 6: Help avert global biodiversity loss”. Under Action 17 “Reduce indirect drivers of biodiversity loss”, the communication states “… the EU will take measures…to reduce the biodiversity impacts of EU consumption patterns, particularly for resources that have negative effects on biodiversity” -17a. 

This would apply directly to the EU consumption of lion trophies, especially those from western and central Africa, where France is the major consumer. As explained before, these lions are genetically distinct from all other lions in Africa, are highly endangered, are losing populations at a great rate (locally extinct in Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Congo by 2010 surveys; Nigeria has 39 lions left, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, and Benin still allow trophy hunting despite greatly declining populations), and should be immediately be declared prohibited imports to the EU.

Also, the communication states “ The Commission will work with Member States and key stakeholders to provide the right market signals for biodiversity conservation, including work to reform, phase out, and eliminate harmful subsidies at both EU and Member State level, and to provide positive incentives for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use” – 17c.

This would, inter alia, hopefully provide a means of phasing out EU and UK subsidies for the Botswana beef industry that is greatly destructive of biodiversity in that country (see our blog on that matter here 

We will be bringing this matter up when we meet with the Cabinet Member of the EC Commissioner for Environment on January 11, 2012.

Photo credit: David Dugmore

Posted by Pieter Kat at 13:22

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