Today, the Commission published a new report analysing the benefits that forests, rivers, grasslands, wetlands and other ecosystems provide. In particular, the report shows how restoring degraded ecosystems has the potential to double nature’s contribution to the EU economy and society.
Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius said: “Healthy, thriving and resilient nature is at the core of our quality of life, thriving economies and resilient societies. Nature provides our food, filters our air and water, regulates our climate and protects us from heat waves and flooding. Losing these essential services would create unprecedented threats to our health, economies and societies. This report is a key tool for future-proof policymaking. It will allow us to make better-informed decisions and policies under the European Green Deal, benefiting people, planet and the economy.” Despite the crucial role of ecosystems, there is currently no established and regular measurement of ecosystem condition or of the quantity of services they provide.
The study, financed by the EU INCA project and headed by the Directorate-General For Environment, the European Statistical office ESTAT, the Joint Research Centre and the European Environmental Agency, aims at addressing this issue by delivering an EU integrated system of ecosystem accounts. It allows scientists, statisticians and policymakers to learn how ecosystems and their services support our society, what changes took place in the EU in the past couple of decades and how all this can be measured in a standardised and comparable way. The Commission is going to propose the revision of the Regulation on European Environmental Economic Accounts (EEEA) to expand its coverage to include a new module on natural capital accounting. The EU could then become the global front-runner as the first continent in the world reporting on changes in ecosystems and their services.