Enhancing Europe’s Natural Capital – an EU-wide Strategy on Green Infrastructure

The European Commission adopted a new GI strategy on 6th May 2013, following a public consultation in 2011. The Strategy recognises that GI can bring multiple benefits to society and is intended to encourage the use of green infrastructure and to ensure that the enhancement of natural processes becomes a systematic part of spatial planning.

The Strategy defines GI as: ‘a strategically planned network of natural and semi-natural areas with other environmental features designed and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services. It incorporates green spaces (or blue if aquatic ecosystems are concerned) and other physical features in terrestrial (including coastal) and marine areas. On land, GI is present in rural and urban settings’.

The adoption of the GI Strategy is a key step in implementing the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy which requires that ‘by 2020, ecosystems and their services are maintained and enhanced by establishing green infrastructure and restoring at least 15% of degraded ecosystems’ (target 2). It contributes to all other targets of the Biodiversity strategy including the full implementation of the Birds and Habitats Directive (target 1) targets 3 and 4 which relate to maintaining and enhancing biodiversity in the wider countryside and the marine environment.

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “Building green infrastructure is often a good investment for nature, for the economy and for jobs. We should provide society with solutions that work with nature instead of against it, where that makes economic and environmental sense.”

For more information including downloadable versions of the press release, the full EC Communcation, a Citizens’ Summary and other information see the Commission’s GI page

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