BirdLife Europe e-news, Vol XII, Issue 6, June 2015
Patricia Zurita
CEO, BirdLife International


Opening session speech, Green Week, 3 June 2015, Brussels


My name is Patricia Zurita, I am an economist (a green one), originally from Ecuador and currently living in Cambridge. Let me quell immediately the anguish of those amongst you wondering what on earth a Latin American economist who lives in the UK, has to say about European Biodiversity. Well hopefully… a thing or two.

The first reason has a beard. Henry Sidgwick, philosopher and early economist. In mid-1800 he did some pioneering work on externalities…That’s what economists called these “undesired consequences of economic activity”. His work was then developed by the far more famous Arthur Cecil Pigou. They were among the first who tried to understand the value, to pin a number, on something that was not being taken into account: the destruction of natural resources (air in that case) and its impact to human lives (health).

A lot of studies have been done since then, and with time the words have changed. The latest most common expression is “ecosystem services”. But the truth is that despite tons of investment in trying to pin a number we are still spinning our wheels on giving a dollar/Euro/pound value to nature’s destruction. When you drain, and plow that wetland, or divert and pave over that stream… when species go extinct… we just cannot take into proper account what we lose.

But this is no longer the next generation’s problem. IT’S OUR PROBLEM, not Tomorrow, NOW.

At a public debate, a few days ago, we heard Vice president Timmermans saying: ”I don’t think that every time we have a problem we should make a law. We should use other instruments. However, when the audience asked: ”Which ones Mr. Timmermans? What will stop nature destruction instead of good laws?”…few answers were offered.

Europe has extraordinary nature laws. At its heart are the Birds and Habitats Directives, high quality and visionary legislation that has had a huge impact on the ground. The Nature Directives have also led to the creation of Natura 2000, the world’s biggest network of protected areas covering almost a fifth of the EU’s territory. And with extraordinary results not only for nature but for people, for development, SOUND development.

The second reason why a Birdlife Cambridge based economist is “fit for purpose” today is… the bird’s perspective:

Birds have amazing vision. Unfortunately, they cannot speak. But if they could… a bird would tell you that EU laws are not applied evenly across the continent, and EU law is systematically breached with impunity in some regions and by some economic sectors. THAT bird would ask for better tools to ensure a real European level playing field. Another bird would tell you about coming back to his breeding ground and not finding a hedgerow, a tree, a pond, a grassland, a place to nest. All plowed… and covered in biocides.

At a time of doubts and angst in Europe, a time when many question the role or even existence of the EU, we must say LOUDER that EU nature protection laws are a success story to be proud of. It started with the Birds Directive. Almost 40 years later, many challenges remain, but bird conservation has been transformed. Cranes, White-tailed Eagles, Great Bustards, Spanish Imperial Eagles, White-headed Ducks and many more are making a comeback. The Habitats Directive, have had a similar impact as testified by the return of wolves, beavers, seals and many other charismatic animals. Eurobarometer data shows consistently that in every EU country a majority of citizens want a strong EU role on the environment and on conservation. Our own consultation has produced almost 200,000 signatures in favour of nature in barely 3 weeks. Your people are speaking.

But now we are at a crossroads. Science is telling us we must speed up conservation efforts to avert disaster, both on biodiversity and on climate change. The ongoing Fitness Check of the Birds and Habitats Directive is the moment of truth. Reopening the directives means destroying decades of hard work. It means putting conservation efforts on hold, precipitating social conflicts and undermining the security and stability of the investment of responsible businesses.

The alternative road, is to get serious about implementation and address the real issues. THAT will save nature, our wealth and our health.

And all you have to do… is listen to the birds. 

Read the full speech here
In this issue
• Partnership news
• Events

• Jobs

 
Featuring: Stanley Johnson
 
 
“Messing with the Nature Directives is unnecessary and dangerous. Juncker will soon abandon this course”: Stanley Johnson interviewed.
#itsmynature

Fill in the Commission consultation with a click
EU Policy news
Traveling through time, with and without, the Nature Directives

Birds shot from August to May, wolves and goshawks considered vermin and exterminated without a second thought. Insects, frogs and turtles ignored. Just 5% of Europe’s landscape protected… welcome to Europe. Before the Nature Directives.
By Ariel Brunner
EU’s Biodiversity Strategy – Halfway there?
 
Biodiversity is the lifeblood of this planet. Each species, no matter how small, plays an important role. The EU’s Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 is the European Commission’s 10 year master plan for taking action against all key drivers of biodiversity loss. Halfway to 2020, BirdLife’s Mid-term Assessment Report takes a very close look at where Europe stands today. By Wouter Langhout 
The European Red List of Birds is here

We have a few theories why the Dodo went extinct. Unless we act now, many other species of bird could follow. But we can help stop this from happening with the knowledge of how specific bird populations are doing and what threats they face. For birds in Europe, BirdLife International has just given us a tool that does all this, the European Red List of Birds.
By Lisa Benedetti
What is the solution for financing biodiversity?

The current approach for funding nature has failed entirely and is one of the main reasons that the biodiversity crisis in Europe remains. A new way forward is urgently needed as discussed at a lively debate at the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the European Union. By Trees Robijns 
Europe's most ambitious conservation project

Crops and barren fields, alien invaders, and illegal killing have had a terrible impact on populations of Europe’s native bird species. So great, that nearly 13% are threatened with extinction. But the LIFE Euro SAP project, an ambitious effort led by Birdlife International, will soon help 16 of Europe’s most charismatic and endangered birds. 
By Christina Ieronymidou

 
NEW BLOG: EU BIOENERGY 

Follow the debate on EU’s bioenergy policies and check out our new website exploring the limits of sustainable use of bioenergy in Europe and the impacts of growing bioenergy use.  
 
You can also use #EUbioenergy in social media to join the debate!
WATCH: Chapter#2 - Five Alarming Facts About Nature - #itsmynature
Chapter 2 - Five alarming facts about nature
Partnership news from Europe and Central Asia

That graveyard for birds, the Mediterranean Sea

The Leaving is Living campaign awards enforcement agencies for fighting the illegal killing of birds in the Mediterranean. NGOs working side by side with police, responsible hunters and volunteers are making a difference, but the battle must continue to make the illegal killing of birds a thing of the past. Read more...
 

Portugal's birding at your fingertips


Now available at your fingertips, all you need to know about more than 100 species of bird and birdwatching in mainland Portugal, the Azores and Madeira archipelagos. Read more...
 

Butterflies, SEO/BirdLife, and the Natura 2000 Citizens Award


Making butterflies with your hands may not change the world, but it’s a symbolic gesture that has been winning the hearts of people across Europe in celebration of the Natura 2000 Network. Read more...
 

Let’s leave a share for our meadow birds


Winter fields are so barren that the once common sights and sounds of meadowland birds are vanishing across Europe. But one farmer in Belgium is helping change this. Read more,., 
 
Events

17-18 June: RESTORE Conference, Public and Biodiversity Benefits through Mineral Site Restoration, Brussels, Belgium

2-6 August: 27th International Congress for Conservation Biology and the 4th European Congress for Conservation Biology, Montpellier, France

21-23 August: BirdFair, Hope for migratory birds in the Eastern Mediterranean: action against illegal killing, Egleton, Rutland, UK

24-25 September: Innovation in Environmental Education, ICT and Intergenerational Learning, Sant’ Apollonia Auditorium, Florence, Italy

24-26 September: International Wolf Conference, Wolfsburg, Germany

9-10 October: International Symposium: Oiseaux et Changements Climatiques, ahead of COP 21, LPO and National Museum of Natural History, Paris

January-June: Latvian Presidency of the EU. Learn more about BirdLife Europe' s recommendations for a successful Presidency here
Jobs

Head of Policy
We are seeking to appoint a Head of Policy to lead BirdLife International’s global policy and advocacy team in Cambridge. Closing date: 5 June 2015
 
Executive Assistant to the CEO
We are looking for someone to provide full secretarial and administrative support to the Chief Executive Officer. Closing date: 7 June 2015
 
IT Technician
We are looking for someone to act as first point of contact for IT-user queries. This person will assist Cambridge Secretariat staff in resolving general computer problems, assist in the general routine of computer procedures and in the maintenance of Network & Servers, Workstations, Laptops and other equipment. Closing date: 21 June 2015


Vulture Conservation Officer
BirdLife International is seeking to recruit an enthusiastic and experienced individual for the position of Vulture Conservation Officer whose overall job purpose is to support the development and implementation of strategies, projects and activities for conservation of species identified as priorities in the BirdLife Africa programme (Secretariat and Partnership), with the main focus on vultures and implementation of a project to secure the critically endangered Liben Lark. Closing date: 19 June 2015

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