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Biodiversity is our life insurance, but it is under threat. The Covid crisis has dramatically changed our lives; and it has also brought to the forefront the crucial need to better preserve biodiversity. Our lives and economies rely on nature. This high-level meeting is a major milestone for the political mobilization for nature in 2021, the year that should lead to an ambitious new international agreement on biodiversity.

The European Commission has launched an online public consultation on the development of legally binding EU nature restoration targets. As a key element of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the European Green Deal, restoring Europe’s damaged ecosystems will help to increase biodiversity, mitigate and adapt to climate change, and prevent and reduce the impacts of natural disasters. The Commission will put forward a proposal for legally binding EU nature restoration targets by the end of 2021.

The Council has decided to extend the mandate of EU civilian mission EUCAP Sahel Mali until 31 January 2023 and has allocated it a budget of over €89 million for the period from 15 January 2021 to 31 January 2023.

The pandemic has struck a devastating effect across the globe. The vaccine is the lifejacket that we were all looking for to save lives and rebuild our collective way of living. “This hope will only materialise if we get the whole world vaccinated rapidly. No one is really safe until everybody is safe.” wrote EU High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell. This is why the EU has been at the forefront of the development of a vaccine and will continue working at multilateral level to ensure fair access to it.