‘One million species worldwide are at risk of extinction’

New information that points to the risk of extinction for one million species – worldwide – came to light in a recent international study that was carried out in respect of the matter.

These latest statistics have also been revealed as the world marks International Day for Biological Diversity today, Wednesday, May 22.

Meanwhile, this latest information on biodiversity has triggered the European Court of Auditors (ECA) to assess whether or not the EU’s agricultural policy is helping to “maintain and enhance biodiversity”.

In a statement, the ECA pointed out that agricultural biodiversity refers to all ecosystems and life forms directly related to farming.

This, Janusz Wojciechowski of the ECA added, includes rare seed varieties and animal breeds as well as other organisms including soil, fauna, weeds, pests, predators, native plants and animals living on, and passing through, a farm.

“Biodiversity in the EU is in a continuous, strong decline, particularly as a result of farming activity,” he continued.

“Auditors have published a preview on EU support for biodiversity in farming. The preview is designed to be a source of information for those interested in the policy or programmes being audited.”

‘Loss and gain’

Meanwhile, according to the ECJ, agriculture is the largest contributor to biodiversity loss in the EU.

With regard to this, the audit will determine how helpful EU contribution has been to “correcting and even reversing the situation”, added Wojciechowsk.

He then highlighted the fact that in 2011, the EU adopted its current biodiversity strategy which is focused on preventing biodiversity loss by 2020.

One of its main targets is to increase the contribution of agriculture to at least maintaining the same level of biodiversity.

He continued: “The European Commission estimates that approximately €85 billion has been earmarked for the 2014-2020 period to tackle biodiversity loss.

“EU support for farmland biodiversity comes mainly from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) budget.”

Separately, the ECJ representative pointed to strategies that can assist with biodiversity and how they can be implemented in a constructive way.

“Auditors will examine the design of the EU biodiversity strategy and its application in CAP; they will also assess the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of EU funding for biodiversity in farming,” Wojciechowsk concluded.