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One step closer to Nature Restoration - but not yet there

Updated: Jul 25, 2023

Recently we celebrated the positive vote for the Nature Restoration Law by the European Parliament, which is sending a strong message: restoring nature is an obligation. The European Union has put itself on the path to be a champion and pioneer of nature restoration globally, living up to promises made to citizens and at the global negotiation table.

We thank all the MEPs that listened to our perspective, welcomed our recommendations and voted also for the next generations. We want to particularly show our appreciation towards the work and the words of Rapporteur César Luena, who publicly recognized the efforts made by youth in the advocacy for this law.

However, we cannot ignore that almost half of our political representatives refused to restore nature, cold-shouldered the youth and refused to guarantee us a liveable environment. The law is still far from what the science tells us it is urgent to do.

We acknowledge with heavy hearts the adoption of amendments that substantially watered down the law. The amendments, especially those that delay targets and the initiation of actions, significantly shift the responsibility and efforts on us in the future. This is not fair from an intergenerational justice perspective, which the EU has agreed to respect as a guiding principle at COP15. In particular, refusal to accept the principle of non-deterioration means that we will continue to witness degradation of our habitats, and so will our children and grandchildren.





Noah Stommel & Fenja Kroos, Project Leads on Nature Restoration at Generation Climate Europe:

Heeding the calls of scientists, young people and environmental activists, a narrow majority of MEPs voted in favour of the Nature Restoration Law during the Plenary of the European Parliament, an outcome that was not guaranteed but one that we celebrate as young Europeans. However, the vote’s close margin of victory underscores the significant opposition still facing the Law. It has been compromised in the voting process and the resulting legal amendments the Parliament agreed upon severely weaken the effectiveness of the NRL in combating biodiversity loss and environmental degradation. We need a more ambitious Law to ensure a future where both people and planet can thrive! Our work is not done and we demand that the Commission, Council and Parliament pass a Law that is as strong as possible and does not put the burden of mitigating environmental damages and economic short-sightedness on future generations.


Sophia Ullrich, Liaison Officer on Biodiversity at Youth and Environment Europe:

While the unity and the strong, loud voices of young people ahead of the plenary vote on the Nature Restoration Law once again demonstrated the will and drive for positive change, the very close vote showed that this is not the case for a lot of MEPs deciding on policies that will determine the state of the ecosystems we depend on. This law is not only about Nature Restoration. It is about fighting for the continued existence of a liveable planet, which the law that was adopted on the 12th of July, does not do. This is why our work is not done and we will continue to fight for a law that is just - not only for us, but for the planet and generations to come.

Giulia Testa, Coordinator of European Young Rewilders:

The positive vote in the Parliament is a bittersweet success. It is great to see many MEPs that listened to science and young people and to see the EU sending out this message, but the journey is still long. However, laws or not, restoration activities and initiatives have been growing exponentially in the past years. And this will never stop: the restoration and rewilding movement is a snowball in a free fall down a slope, getting bigger and bigger. While politicians discuss in rooms, tons of people, of young people, are out there restoring and rewilding. This is the future. The law is not as ambitious as we wanted it? Then we will be ambitious, and we can be it now.


Ronja Fischer, Co-Coordinator of Global Youth Biodiversity Network European Chapter (GYBN Europe):

The vote in favour of nature was a crucial and most needed signal to the world.However, the narrow result, the disinformation campaign including blunt claims against all scientific evidence is very worrying for us. Let us hope, that during the Trialogue process some more common sense prevail and get something more ambitious than just restoring Nature 2000 areas. We all, and youth in particular, depend on a healthy environment - and we need to take the necessary steps to ensure them rather yesterday than tomorrow.

Oliwer Schultz, Coordinator of the Nordic Youth Biodiversity Network (NYBN):

The NRL is the most crucial legislation for european biodiversity of my lifetime. For environmentalists in every part of society to finally have political will on the environments side should be a celebration. But seeing the Law being so close to get rejected and at the moment being so watered down from it's once clear agenda of saving our nature, is a new way politicians have made me disappointed. However, youth will continue our efforts to restore Europe's biodiversity, and we hope one day the elected few will follow the actual will of the people and join us truly in stopping the biodiversity crisis.


Julia Balasch, Coordinator of GYBN Austria:

Even though negotiations for the Nature Restoration Law will see another day, the picture this whole process has painted is bleak, not only for Europe's nature and biodiversity, but for trust into political officials and democratic processes. Are we supposed to celebrate this small majority within Parliament that barely aknowledged science and the nature crisis?


Mattia Lucertini, Coordinator of GYBN Italy:

The Parliament's vote can be seen as a positive development, acknowledging the efforts made to secure a more promising future for all. The approval of the Nature Restoration Law reflects a significant stance by EU institutions in support of nature, despite the fact that recent negotiations have led to a dilution of its original objectives. Regrettably, at the national level, we, as GYBN Italy, hold the view that the situation is even more unfavorable, and Italian youth have experienced deep disappointment. Italy should ideally take a leading role in the preservation and restoration of biodiversity. However, to our dismay, nearly all Italian MEPs voted against this vital legislation. This decision by the current political power has effectively disregarded the expectations of young people on almost every level. As a result, bitterness lingers among the younger generations, as they feel unrepresented, signifying that our endeavors to conserve and restore nature will not come to an end with this setback.



The coalition of youth organizations whose representatives released the statements above represents more than 20 million young Europeans.


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