The following statement was issued by Arnaud Goessens, Senior Manager – EU Policy, for WCS EU.

“WCS EU welcomes today’s announcement by President von der Leyen that the European Union will double its external funding for biodiversity, in particular for the most vulnerable countries.

“For the past years, WCS EU and other conservation organizations in Europe have been calling for increased external funding for biodiversity and specifically for an EU target of 10 percent for biodiversity under the new Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument – NDICI / Global Europe Instrument. The announcement today aligns with this urgent call and we therefore applaud President von der Leyen for her leadership.

“Through this increased support, the EU will play a pivotal role in protecting biodiversity worldwide, and especially in the most vulnerable countries – noting that the vast majority of global biodiversity outside of Europe, yet is impacted by European actions and footprint.

“It is essential to address the root causes of the three major and interlinked crises the world is currently facing: climate, biodiversity, and health. The emergence of diseases of zoonotic origin like COVID-19, that spill over from wildlife to humans, provides a stark demonstration of the need to protect wildlife, and to change our relationship with nature. In particular, the link between deforestation, forest degradation and emergence of pathogens suggests that a major effort must be made to retain intact forest systems in tropical countries.

“Overall, doubling the EU’s external funding will enable the implementation of the global dimension of the new EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2030, and in particular the implementation of EU’s new NaturAfrica initiative aiming at protecting wildlife and key ecosystems while offering opportunities in green sectors for local communities in Africa.”

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WCS EU: The mission of WCS EU, based in Brussels, is to save wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, we draw upon the Wildlife Conservation Society’s field expertise and experience to identify, formulate, and articulate policy positions on issues such as wildlife trade and wildlife trafficking, integrating the conservation of wildlife and wild places into the European Union’s development aid programmes, and sharing this information with decision-makers. Visit: brussels.wcs.org. Follow: @WCSBrussels. For more information: agoessens@wcs.org.