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The Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters is an international agreement that gives the public a number of rights with regard to the environment. It consists of three pillars, one of them covering the right of access to justice in cases of non-compliance with environmental law. Implementation of the convention's provisions on access to justice have been the focus of two recent documents, one published by the ...

With the publication of the "Global Trendometer" the EPRS Global Trends Unit seeks to contribute to the process of identifying and addressing medium- and long-term trends, and their possible implications for policy-making in the European Union. In this latest edition, three essays and seven two-page vignettes on different geopolitical, economic, technological and social issues paint a broad-ranging picture of some developments that may shape Europe’s future.

The environmental implementation review (EIR), launched by the European Commission in 2016, aims at providing an overview of how well Member States are implementing EU environmental law, and at supporting them if necessary. The review consists of three parts: 28 country reports, a Commission summary of the most common problems, and suggestions for improvement. The review’s first edition was published in February 2017. It reveals implementation gaps, in particular, regarding waste management, nature ...

Freshwater ecosystems are particularly rich in biodiversity and fulfil important ecosystem services. However, the continuing presence of pollutants still raises concerns for public health, as well as for nature conservation. Surface water bodies and groundwater alike are threatened by synthetic and also naturally occurring substances that can have a negative impact on the aquatic environment and on human health. Increased temperature and over-abstraction of water are further causes for concern. Meanwhile ...

Launched by the European Commission in 2016, the Environmental Implementation Review (EIR) is aimed at providing an overview of how well Member States are implementing EU environmental law and at helping them if they are struggling. The Commission says that insufficient and uneven implementation causes damage to the environment and human health, and entails high costs. The EIR is a response to calls from the European Parliament and others to improve the situation and better integrate environmental ...

Synthetic biology and biodiversity

Pārskats 01-12-2016

Synthetic biology is a new dimension of modern biotechnology with the potential to design and manufacture living organisms, components and products. It will be on the agenda of the 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), to be held from 4 to 17 December 2016, in Cancún, Mexico. Synthetic biology could provide novel solutions for environmental and biodiversity-related issues, but could also have an adverse impact on the natural ...

On 26 February 2016, the European Commission adopted a communication on the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking. The action plan is aimed at combatting illegal wildlife trade by improving the implementation of existing legislation and raising awareness about the seriousness of the crime. It is based on three priorities: prevention, better enforcement and closer cooperation worldwide. In recent years, wildlife trafficking has reached unprecedented levels, and global demand for wildlife and ...

Biodiversity and agriculture

Briefing 21-06-2016

In its mid-term review of the Biodiversity strategy, the European Commission identified a continuing decline in the species and habitats associated with agriculture. It concluded that the strategy was not fulfilling expectations with regard to the contribution of agriculture and forestry to maintaining and enhancing biodiversity. Numerous studies show that agricultural biodiversity loss is linked to intensification of agricultural activities on the one hand, and the abandonment of farming on the ...

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), invasive alien species (IAS) are the second most significant threat to biodiversity after habitat loss. They are also capable of causing significant damage to human health and to the economy. The cost of controlling invasive alien species and repairing the harm they do in the EU is estimated at €12 billion annually. To tackle this cross-border issue, an EU Regulation on IAS was adopted in 2014 and entered into force in January ...