Last updated: 20 Oct 2020

Today EU Green Week kicked off in its new "virtual" format. This year Green Week highlights the contribution biodiversity can make to society and the economy, and the role it can play in supporting and stimulating recovery in a post-pandemic world, bringing jobs and sustainable growth.

This year’s Green Week will also act as a milestone on the path to the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity, now planned for 2021, where world leaders will adopt a 10-year action plan for biodiversity – a new global deal for people and nature.

Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth. This web of living things is the heart of nature, cleaning the water we drink, pollinating our crops, purifying the air we breathe, regulating the climate, keeping our soils fertile, providing us with medicine, and providing many of the basic building blocks for industry.

All scientists agree - we are losing nature like never before, in all parts of the world. This loss is closely linked to climate change, and is part of a general ecological crisis. The effects of biodiversity loss are already here and they will get worse if the trend continues.

So why are we losing biodiversity?

Habitat loss, over-exploitation, climate change, pollution and invasive alien species all contribute to biodiversity loss. But the underlying cause is unsustainable human activities. Our demand for new resources is driving deforestation, changing patterns of land use, and destroying natural habitats all around the globe.  

In Europe, the main cause of biodiversity loss is land-use change. Farming and forestry practices have become more intensive, with more chemical additives, fewer spaces between fields, and fewer varieties of crops. This lack of variety means far fewer insects, for example, and consequently fewer birds.

Cities and urban areas have also expanded enormously, leaving less room for nature. And when farmland and urban developments leave no room for nature, the result is a loss of biodiversity.

What is Europe doing to solve the problem?

As part of the New Green Deal, Europe is making a firm commitment to three priorities in a new biodiversity strategy: protecting biodiversity from future harm, restoring damage where it has already suffered, and ensuring that a concern for biodiversity is a central feature of all other relevant policy areas.

Internationally, the EU is a major supporter of biodiversity protection and the sustainable use of natural resources. It engages more than 350 million euros per year on biodiversity in developing countries through programmes directly focused on biodiversity and programmes on mainstreaming biodiversity in other sectors. E.g. in 2018, the EU funded 66 protected areas in 27 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Europe is aiming for world leaders to agree an overall target to protect biodiversity in Kunming, China, in spring 2021. This will be the equivalent of the Paris 1.5° goal. This 15th meeting of the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD COP 15) will review progress towards the world’s current biodiversity targets, and raise the level of ambition for the next ten years.

Welcome to the UDITE and VEOLIA stand in the exhibition area


Join us for side event on Wednesday 21st October.

Join us for the Green Week side event ‘Protecting biodiversity and nature through a circular economy’, on 21 October from 16:30 to 17:30 where we have helped secure a speaking slot for Pierre Victoria from Veolia. The draft agenda is as follows:-



16:30 - 16:40

Observations from the International Resource Panel on the biodiversity and circular economy -  Janez Potočnik, member of the International Resource Panel

16:40 - 17:05

Examples of how circular economy can contribute to halting biodiversity loss:-

  • Eduardo Mansur, Director Office of Climate Change, Biodiversity and Environment, FAO

  • Pierre Victoria, Head of Sustainable Development, Veolia,

  • Etelle Higonnet, Mighty Campaign and Legal Director, Mighty Earth

17: 05 – 17:30

Reaction from the European Commission and exchange with the audience -  Paola Migliorini, Deputy Head of Unit, Sustainable Products, Production and Consumption, DG ENV


Wrap up 


The side event will discuss the latest ideas from the International Resource Panel on biodiversity and circular economy. It will talk about biodiversity and the circular economy angle as well as circular economy and food losses. Pierre Victoria from Veolia, will share some examples of how the circular economy (and the new circular economy action plan) can help to halt biodiversity loss and finally. Finally the speaker from Mighty Earth will explore how we can rethink the circular economy for food. Exploring the full life-cycle of food, with agroecological production, end of food waste and closed loop food systems with multiple value chains each benefiting the other. A number of good practices from a number of European retailers will be presented. The side event is being moderated by Paola Migliorini, the deputy head of unit for Sustainable Products, Production and Consumption at DG ENV who will react to some of the major points raised during the presentations.

Download full programme for Green Week 2020