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EU ministers discuss key biodiversity and ecosystem issues


Lithuanian Environment Minister Kęstutis Trečiokas is attending an informal meeting of the environment and energy ministers of EU member states in Riga on the 14-15 April.

The ministers are to discuss ways of protecting biodiversity and ecosystems while promoting the use of renewable energy resources. They will also share ideas about preparations for the coming UN Climate Change Conference due in Paris in December this year.

Having adopted national, European and international biodiversity preservation objectives, Lithuania is planning to prepare a national study in 2016 to evaluate ecosystems, the distribution of related services and their current status, Lithuanian Environment Minister Kęstutis Trečiokas said.

“Lithuania has by now essentially created a network of Natura 2000 protected land territories, has achieved significant progress in developing protected marine territories, and is successfully implementing action plans for the protection of important wildlife species, including projects to restore populations of wild birds and large predatory animals. We hope nature protection will further improve after implementing the EU regulation on invasive species and improving implementation of the habitats and birds directives,” the minister said.

The government has been focusing on biodiversity protection while developing its renewable energy projects, with a study to be prepared in early 2016 to identify sensitive and biologically important territories in the development of wind power generation. While implementing the strategic Lithuanian-Polish power bridge project, measures have been implemented to repel birds and protect endangered plant species.

In the minister’s opinion, cohesion is necessary in the development of energy and environmental protection objectives: energy infrastructure has to be developed in a responsible manner, implementing environmental impact assessments, talking to the public, making flexible use of technology to protect biodiversity, and ensuring environmental monitoring. In cases where negative impacts on biodiversity cannot be avoided, mitigating and compensatory measures have to be applied, he added.

The informal meeting of ministers is also to discuss the upcoming conference coming UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December this year. The conference is expected to approve a new legally binding climate change convention, which is to take effect from 2020. The ministers are to discuss the negotiating process and the EU’s role in promoting greater progress.

Lithuania supports the call to finalise a new legally-binding convention by the end of 2015. The new treaty will be aimed at resolving disagreements between developed and developing nations. The Lithuanian minister said it was very important for the EU to closely collaborate and exchange information with other countries and their alliances during their Paris negotiations, seeking acceptable multilateral solutions.
“Active involvement on a high political level is instrumental to setting clear political priorities on the key issues of the convention. This would make negotiations in Paris more effective and lead to specific results,” Mr Trečiokas said.

Public Information Division

Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas