We are very pleased to welcome Kriton as a trustee of Wild Europe Foundation.
Twice voted “MEP of the Year” by his colleagues in the European Parliament for achievements in forest and marine conservation during his tenure from 2009 – 2014, he has a significant track record as environmentalist and politician.
He played a key role in development of forest policy, including establishment of the EU Timber Regulation, and led the Parliament in adopting EU legislation on monitoring emissions from land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF), as well as ending important derogations of EU environmental assessment legislation. Kriton has since been a member of the Greek parliament until 2023.
It is a stark but surprisingly little-known fact that farming and forestry interests opposing the Nature Restoration Law (NRL) represent less than 2.5%of Gross Domestic Product in the EU.
Yet the costs of inappropriate management in worsening climate change and ecological degradation fall on the remaining 97.5% of the economy.
Aletter sent by Wild Europe to each of the 51 MEPs in the Environment Committee and the Agriculture & Rural Development Committee on 10th July, just prior to the vote on the NRL, pointed out this GDP mismatch and stressed that it was in the interests of all sectors of the economy to get the Law voted through.
Non-intervention conservation – the French connection gathers momentum
With its great scale, bio-geographical variety and management expertise France is destined to be a leader in restoration of ‘true’ wild nature. Recent growth in support for non-intervention practice is making this a reality.
Coordination Evolution Libre (CEL), literally meaning coordination of free evolution, is one such entity. Founded scarcely 3 years ago by a group of distinguished naturalists, writers and scientists, it is evolving rapidly from a core of 15 organisations, linking to a network of initiatives in the field and a significant group of supportive MPs in the French Parliament.
Summarised in the clarion call “Let’s make room for true nature”, CEL draws on Wild Europe’s definition of wilderness – areas of natural ecosystem – calling for non-intervention to be the keynote for President Macron’s vision of “protection forte” (strong protection).
Addressing the linkage between climate and biodiversity crises is widely regarded as essential for resolving them. Yet this linkage still has to be coordinated in practice at strategic level between key organisations.
A new policy paper with proposals for a Joint SBSTA (Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice) Work Plan, to which Wild Europe has contributed, should help address the situation.
The Vjosa becomes Europe’s first Wild River National Park
The Vjosa in Albania, one of Europe’s last free-flowing natural rivers, was declared a national park by the government on 22nd March.
Its tributaries and a variety of ecosystems harbouring some 1,100 species including 15 under global threat, will be included in a second phase alongside creation of a trans-boundary park with Greece where it is known as the river Aoos.
The emphasis now is on ensuring achievement – with 2030 as the imminent target date, aligned to Paris Agreement timelines. Strategies from the EU for biodiversity and forests could provide useful models for the route ahead.