The annual conference of the European Forum of Judges for the Environment focused on the implementation and enforcement of European biodiversity law.
21 October 2010: As part of the International Year of Biodiversity, judges from the member States of the EU met in Brussels, Belgium, from 18-19 October 2010, to discuss implementation and enforcement of European biodiversity law, in the framework of the annual conference of the European Forum of Judges for the Environment.
Judges emphasized the importance of the role of the State in protecting biodiversity as a whole and not just when it is associated with certain habitats or species having special protection status. They highlighted the increasing number of violations of measures aimed at protecting fauna and flora, noting that these violations are not treated on an equal footing with violations of other national laws. Judges also discussed violations of biodiversity law committed by organized crime networks.
During the meeting, the European Commission presented new guidelines on activities that can affect protected areas in the Natura 2000 network, recommending that States take compensatory measures when, in spite of negative assessments of the impacts of proposed plans or a projects, implementation nonetheless is deemed necessary for reasons of greater public interest. Furthermore, for the first time, an extraordinary session brought together prosecutors specializing in environment law. [EU Presidency press release]