Belgium must invest €603 million to meet biodiversity commitments, says WWF

Belgium must invest €603 million to meet biodiversity commitments, says WWF
Credit: Belga

If Belgium wants to honour its commitments and fulfil its ambitions, it needs to invest around €603 million more every year, WWF-Belgium said in a new report on International Biodiversity Day, calling on the country to bridge the gap between ambitions and real spending.

In the report, titled 'Our nature is worth gold: investing in biodiversity, investing in the future', WWF estimated that the Belgian authorities will have spent €855.5 million on biodiversity policy by 2020. In the past two years, Belgium also invested a lot in the fight against water scarcity and drought, for example with the Flemish Blue Deal. Yet the country needs to invest more to realise its biodiversity ambitions, according to the nature organisation.

"€603 million seems a lot, but that amount represents 0.13% of Belgian GDP or 0.22% of total Belgian public spending in 2020," WWF stated in the press release. "It is also many times smaller than the subsidies the country allocates to practices that harm nature: in 2020, Belgium spent almost €13 billion on fossil fuel subsidies, which is at odds with its ambitions for biodiversity."

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Investing in nature is not a superfluous luxury, WWF stressed. The conservation organisation calls biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse one of the biggest threats to humanity in the coming decade. "Investing in biodiversity means investing in clean air, water and food, and helps fight climate change," said Reine Spiessens, biodiversity policy officer at WWF-Belgium.

WWF further revealed that there is popular support for measures to protect nature: "more than 14,000 Belgians already sent direct messages to the relevant ministers and Belgian MEPs expressing their desire for an ambitious nature restoration law."

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