Is the existing EU policy framework fit to protect and restore marine biodiversity? Could an upstream approach such as ecosystem-based management be the key to coordinating environmental policies? At the Future Oceans conference titled "Advances in Integrated Ocean Research towards Sustainable Development" held in Kiel (Germany) from 2 until 7 July 2017, Ecologic Institute's Katrina Abhold and Lina Röschel gave short, energetic talks that addressed exactly these pressing issues in the fields of marine science and policy. On Monday 3 July 2017, Junior Researcher Lina Röschel kicked off the Science Session on Ocean Pressures by elaborating on the complexity of the EU's existing policy framework in relation to halting biodiversity loss.
She presented the progress of the six targets of the EU Biodiversity Strategy as assessed within the Strategy's Mid-term Review, which stated that "at the current rate of implementation, biodiversity loss and the degradation of ecosystem services will continue throughout the EU." By understanding how policies either positively or negatively contribute to drivers or pressures of aquatic biodiversity loss, one can assess how the current EU policy framework is working to meet the targets established with the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy. Linking the existing policy framework to the Drivers-Pressures-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) framework resulted in the conclusion that the EU policy landscape appears to have a mixed effect: in some ways, it provides protection to aquatic biodiversity; in other ways, it encourages activities that lead to further deterioration.
The research presented by Abhold and Röschel was undertaken in the project AQUACROSS, funded by the EU Horizon 2020 Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration under Grant Agreement no. 642317.