German ecosystems are in steep decline. Yet the draft Recovery Plan doesn’t contribute to restoring and protecting nature, despite the requirements of the RRF regulation.
In a nutshell:
- The German RRP contains no biodiversity measures despite EU requirements
- Intact ecosystems are essential to tackle the climate crisis and crucial for the economy and health
- German ecosystems are in decline, some facing the threat of collapse unless ambitious action is taken
According to a recent report by the German Agency for Nature Conservation, the state of natural ecosystems in Germany is worsening year by year. The German €130 billion stimulus package adopted in June 2020 (Konjunktur und Zukunftspaket) merely contains a €700 million program to support the forest and wood industry. This is far from what is needed for a comprehensive restoration effort.
The draft Recovery plan could be a chance to use EU funds to strengthen biodiversity, by financing nature protection projects aimed at restoring natural areas like forests, swamps, meadows and waterways as well as improving the state of urban ecosystems. In fact, the Recovery and Resilience Facility regulation requires Member States to explain to the Commission how the plan contributes to biodiversity, a key part of the “Green Transition” component of the plans.
The December 2020 version of the draft Recovery plan, however, does not contain a single measure to protect and promote biodiversity. This is particularly egregious as the German Ministry of Finance, which was in charge of designing it, was given a detailed proposal to include a new nature restoration fund of up to €900 million by the Ministry of the Environment, but chose not to include it in the RRP.
Rather than including measures to address the problem of ecosystem degradation, the government argues in a new version of the plan from 15 April 2021 that a €20 million programme to promote wood as a construction material makes a meaningful contribution to biodiversity.
Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und nukleare Sicherheit, Die Lage der Natur in Deutschland (2020) (in German)
German Ministry of Finance, German Recovery and Resilience Plan (2020) (in German)
German Ministry of Finance, Corona-Folgen bekämpfen, Wohlstand sichern, Zukunftsfähigkeit stärken (2020) (in German)