Early December 2019 the European Environment Agency (EEA) launched its State of the Environment Report 2020, “European Environment — state and outlook report” (SOER 2020). The report provides an overview of the state of Europe’s environment. It highlights that Europe faces environmental challenges of unprecedented scale and urgency and that, while European environment and climate policies have helped improve the environment, Europe is not making enough progress.
The seven key areas set out in the report to get Europe back on track to achieve its 2030 and 2050 goals and ambitions are:
- Realise the unfulfilled potential of existing environmental policies. Fully implementing existing policies would take Europe a long way to achieving its environmental goals up to 2030.
- Embrace sustainability as the framework for policy making. Developing long-term policy frameworks with binding targets — starting with the food system, chemicals and land use — will stimulate and guide coherent actions across policy areas and society.
- Lead international action towards sustainability. The EU should use its diplomatic and economic influence to promote the adoption of ambitious international agreements in areas such as biodiversity and resource use.
- Foster innovation throughout society. Changing the current trajectory will closely depend on the emergence and spread of diverse forms of innovation that can trigger new ways of thinking and living.
- Scale up investments and reorient the finance sector to support sustainable projects and businesses. This requires investing in the future by making full use of public funds to support innovation and nature-based solutions, procuring sustainably and supporting impacted sectors and regions. It also entails engaging the financial sector in sustainable investment by implementing and building on the EU’s Sustainable Finance Action Plan.
- Manage risks and ensure a socially fair transition. A successful transition to sustainability will require that societies acknowledge potential risks, opportunities and trade-offs, and devise ways to manage them. EU and national policies have an essential role in achieving ‘just transitions’ making sure no one is left behind.
- Build more knowledge and know-how. This entails additional focus on understanding the systems driving environmental pressures, pathways to sustainability, promising initiatives and barriers to change. Further capacity-building is needed to navigate a rapidly changing world by investing in education and skills.
The ‘European environment – state and outlook 2020’ is published by the EEA every five years as mandated in its regulation. Further details on the state of environment report and related projects, including videos, are available on the EEA Website.
Source: EEA. The European Environment Agency is an agency of the European Union, whose task is to provide sound, independent information on the environment. The EEA aims to support sustainable development by helping to achieve significant and measurable improvement in Europe’s environment, through the provision of timely, targeted, relevant and reliable information to policymaking agents and the public.
Co-source: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ireland