On 22nd June 2022, the European Commission published its long-awaited draft proposal for a Regulation on Nature Restoration. The proposal is a timely publication in advance of talks beginning on 22nd June in Nairobi, Kenya for COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The regulation is a landmark step in the EU's efforts to protect and restore damaged European habitats, including wetlands.
Healthy wetlands provide many services to our landscapes and society by storing carbon, fostering biodiversity, offsetting natural disasters like flooding caused by climate change, and providing economic, cultural and wellness benefits to surrounding communities. When wetlands are mismanaged and damaged, these valuable services are lost.
The proposal for Nature Restoration states that despite the EU's best efforts, biodiversity loss and habitat degradation is continuing at an alarming rate, although it is well known that healthy ecosystems are essential for our long-term well-being, prosperity and security.
The proposal highlights the importance of restoring wetlands and peatlands, promotes nature-based solutions, and provides binding, habitat-specific restoration targets including for peatland rewetting.
The publication is an important milestone in the EU's restoration work. WaterLANDS partners recently advocated for increased support of peatlands in European law and as a H2020-funded project, are excited to continue to work to restore European wetlands.