Key elements in the wording of the EU Parliament Resolution on wilderness, February 2009

In its Resolution  “expresses its strong support for the strengthening of wilderness-related policies and measures” and 

 “Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and Commission, and to the governments and parliaments of the Member States”.

Element

Main Actions (numbers taken from the Resolution)

Better protection of wilderness

10. Commission and Member States to devote special attention to the effective protection of wilderness areas;

11. Commission to detect immediate threats to wilderness areas;

12. Commission to develop appropriate recommendations that provide guidance to the Member States on the best approaches for ensuring the protection of natural habitats;

13. Commission and Member States to protect wilderness areas by implementing the Birds and Habitats Directives, the Water Framework Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive in a more effective and more consistent way, with better financing, in order to avoid the destruction of these areas by harmful, non-sustainable development;

14. Welcomes the review of the Birds and Habitats Directives with a view, where necessary, to amending them to provide better protection for threatened species and biotopes;

15. Commission to accept the Wild Europe Initiative, a partnership of several nature conservation organisations including IUCN, IUCN-WCPA, WWF, Birdlife International and PAN Parks, with a strong interest in wild lands or nearly wild areas;

Appropriate management of wilderness in Natura 2000 areas

16. Commission, in cooperation with stakeholders, to develop guidelines on how to protect, manage, use sustainably,monitor and finance wilderness areas under the Natura 2000 network, especially with regard to challenges such as climate change, illegal logging and increasing demand for goods;

17. Expresses deep concerns for European biodiversity policy due to lack of funding for management of the Natura 2000 network; in this context, calls on the Commission to prepare, as foreseen in the Habitats Directive, Community co-funding for the management of sites in Member States;

18.  Commission to give a special status to and stricter protection for wilderness zones in the Natura 2000 network;

19. Rural development policy and the integration of environmental protection into the EU agricultural sector must be reinforced; however, the Rural Development Fund insufficient to finance biodiversity and wilderness conservation in terms of resources and its programming and expertise;

20.  Commission to ensure that the Natura 2000 network will be strengthened further to become a coherent and functioning ecological network in which wilderness areas have a central place; stresses the need for coherent policies, in particular in the common agricultural policy, transport, energy and the budget in order not to undermine the conservation objectives of Natura 2000;

Developing wilderness areas

4.   Commission to develop an EU wilderness strategy, coherent with the Birds and Habitats Directives, using an ecosystem approach, identifying threatened species and biotopes, and setting priorities;

5.  Commission and the Member States to develop wilderness areas; stresses the need for the provision of special funding for reducing fragmentation, careful management of re-wilding areas, development of compensation mechanisms, raising awareness, building understanding and introducing wilderness-related concepts such as the role of free natural processes into the monitoring and measurement of favourable conservation status; this work should be carried out in cooperation with the local population and other stakeholders;

Promotion of wilderness

6.   Commission and Member States to co-operate with local non-governmental organisations, stakeholders and the local population to promote the value of wilderness;

7.   Member States to launch and support information campaigns to raise awareness among the general public about wilderness and its significance and to cultivate the perception that biodiversity protection can be compatible with economic growth and jobs;

8.   Member States to exchange their experiences of best practices and lessons learnedabout wilderness areas by bringing together key European experts to examine the concept of wilderness in the European Union and place wilderness on the European agenda;

9.   Commission and the Member States to ensure that tourism, even if focusing on introducing visitors to the habitats and wildlife of a wilderness area, is handled with extreme care, making full use of experience gained inside and outside Europe on how to minimise its impact, and with reference, where appropriate, to Article 6 of the Habitats Directive.

Wilderness and climate change

22. Commission to monitor and assess the impact of climate change on wilderness;

23. Commission and the Member States to set wilderness conservation as a priority in their strategy to address climate change;

24. Commission, in the context of climate change, to undertake research and provide guidance as to when and how human intervention can manage wilderness in order to preserve it;

Definition and mapping of wilderness

1.  Commission to define wilderness; the definition should address aspects such as ecosystem services, conservation value, climate change and sustainable use;

2.   Commission to mandate the EEA and other relevant European bodies to map Europe's last wilderness areas, in order to ascertain the current distribution, level of biodiversity and cover of still-untouched areas as well as areas where human activities are minimal (divided into major habitats types: forest, freshwater and marine wilderness areas);

3.   Commission to undertake a study on the value and benefits of wilderness protection; the study should particularly address the issues of ecosystem services, the level of biodiversity of wilderness areas, climate change adaptation and sustainable nature touri

Tackling alien species in wilderness areas

21. Commission and Member States to work together to develop a robust legislative framework on invasive alien species that tackles both ecological and economic impacts arising from such species and the particular vulnerability of wilderness areas to this threat.