This article was contributed by Abel Fernández of FCC project partner Creative District.

In the period from 1990 to 2020, the world has lost 420 million hectares of forest, an area larger than the European Union. For this and many other concerns, last November the European Commission presented tools to move towards a circular economy, protect nature and raise environmental standards in European countries. As a result, the Comisson has adopted three new initiatives to make the European Green Pact a reality.

1. New rules to curb deforestation would ensure that the products that EU citizens buy, use and consume on the EU market do not contribute to deforestation and forest degradation. The main driver of these processes is agricultural expansion linked to commodities such as soy, beef, palm oil, timber, cocoa and coffee, and some of their by-products.

Lastly, intensifying dialogue and focusing on the previous issues will have positive impacts on local communities, including the most vulnerable people such as indigenous peoples, who are highly dependent on forest ecosystems.

2. New rules to facilitate intra-EU waste shipments. the Commission implements the ambitions of circular economy and zero pollution by proposing stricter rules on the export of waste, a more efficient system for the circulation of waste as a resource and decisive action against waste trafficking.

These contribute to reducing the EU’s dependence on primary raw materials and support innovation and decarbonisation of EU industry to meet the EU’s climate targets. Additionally, the new rules are also bringing waste shipments into the digital age by introducing the electronic exchange of documentation.

3. New EU Soil Strategy – a major product of the European Green Deal and EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises. The Strategy aims to increase soil carbon in agricultural land, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil and ensure that by 2050, all soil ecosystems are in a healthy condition. Thus, this will be done through a proposal by 2023 for a new Soil Health Act.

In a nutshell, as European Green Deal executive vice-president Frans Timmermans said “to succeed in the global fight against the climate and biodiversity crisis, we must take responsibility to act both at home and abroad”. Hence, these initiatives of the European Commission are a good strategy to embrace the Green Deal and the Union.

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