EU Biodiversity strategy
To report on progress to the EU 2020 biodiversity strategy, the European Commission extracted relevant information from the EU Member States’ 5th national reports to the CBD. Of the 5 countries which had not finalized their national reports at the time of the synthesis (26th of August 2015), Greece, Malta, Portugal and Lithuania provided information to be included in the synthesis.
The 5th national reports were examined, and relevant information on selected actions under Targets 1-6 of the EU biodiversity strategy was directly copied. Thus, the information presented here is in the original language and wording of the 5th national reports.
The focus was on information that is particular to the respective Member State rather than referencing EU wide information. In addition, only information that is not directly reported to the European Commission by Member States was retrieved from the reports. Each Member State had the opportunity to review the synthesis of its report and to provide additional input. For more information, please view here. The 5th national report for Romania can be downloaded here.
EU target 1
Fully implement the Birds and Habitats Directives
(Please note that information from Member States in relation to Action 1a is supplied to the European Commission via other reports. To avoid duplication of reporting, information relating to Action 1a has not been included in this report)
Action 1b: Natura 2000 (and other protected areas)
- The Direction no. 2 of Romanian NBSAP 2014 – 2020 aims to “Integrate the biodiversity conservation policy into all the sectorial policies by 2020”.
Action 1c: Natura 2000 (and other protected areas)
- In 2012, NEPA started to implement the project POS Environment Priority Axis 4 “Integrated Management and Awareness System in Romania of Natura 2000 network” – SINCRON that had as a specific goal to improve efficiency in management of Natura 2000 sites by implementing a national registry for the implementation of management plans that would allow the increase of transparency regarding decision making for natural, cultural and historic patrimony protection, adopted by the managers of natural protected areas.
- One of the most important achievements of the current reporting period is the strengthening of the administrative system in Natura 2000 sites, resulting from establishment of management structures.
- According to Romanian’s legislation the management of protected areas is outsourced (externalized) to custodians for small sized protected areas and administrators for large protected areas (e.g. national parks, national parks and others). These custodians could be public institutions and companies, universities, research institutes, NGOs etc. Their mandate is mainly to assure the management of protected areas, establish the rules and drafting management plans in agreement to local stakeholders and conservation objectives of each protected area.
- One of the most important achievements of the current reporting period is the strengthening of the management system in Natura 2000 sites.
- Even if capacities of public authorities are decreasing, especially in term of staff, the management of protected areas has been improved by involving the administrators and custodians. These are represented by different stakeholders, and have obligation to ensure the management of protected areas according to legislation and draft management plans.
- Currently 11 management plans were adopted. The management plans of protected areas of national interest included also management measures for Natura 2000 sites that are overlapped.
- In the period 2010-2012 a new project “Integrated Management System and Awareness of Natura 2000 in Romania” was developed. In this project new guidelines for management plans for protected areas were elaborated. These new guidelines reflect the characteristics of all protected area categories in Romania and focus on conservation measures for species and habitats.
- Another task of this project was the development of an IT application for management plans. The purpose of this application is to centralize all management plans while using the same template. The IT application and the guidelines were tested by developing 9 management plans for 9 Natura 2000 sites (3 SPAs and 6 SCIs).
Action 2: Adequate financing of Natura 2000
- Biodiversity conservation is mainly funded via different EU funds and state budget, but also from other sources: Swiss Funds, Norwegian Funds. Romania has completed the Prioritized Action Framework for Natura 2000 network.
- Since 2007, the EU has significantly increased funding for biodiversity funding. Another modification with respect to the previous reporting period was a significant increase in the amount of financial resources allocated to biodiversity conservation. Biodiversity conservation measures have been financed from the following programs and funds:
- Rural Development Programme
- Operational Programme Environment
- Operational Programme Fisheries
- LIFE + Programme
- Financial compensations for Natura 2000 sites on a voluntary basis and EU payments for management of the biologically valuable grasslands and Natura 2000 forests for land owners are part of activities dedicated for the Target 3.
- Currently, the amount of financing for biodiversity conservation projects and the management of protected natural areas are low.
- The nongovernmental sector is very active and has the necessary expertise in biodiversity conservation, but is currently limited by the too strict rules for accessing the available funds (eligibility, reporting, co-financing, pre-financing of project activities, covering of non-eligible costs (VAT), etc.
- After accession, the large corporations and companies in Romania have become more careful about environmental problems, including aspects of biodiversity conservation, and developed and funded corporate social responsibility projects.
Target group oriented communication is of central importance to achieving the biodiversity conservation targets and successfully implementing a strategy as complex and ambitious as the National Strategy on Biological Diversity.
- Work has been carried out in Romania in many areas to increase public awareness of the values of the biological diversity. Most of the European funds projects have a raising awareness component.
- Additionally, Romania has implemented in 2010 – 2013 a dedicated project, “The national campaign to promote the awareness and the importance of Biodiversity through Natura 2000 Network in Romania” with the objective of raising awareness of the importance of biodiversity and Natura 2000 network in Romania.
EU target 2
Maintain and restore ecosystems and their services
The extension and modernization of the water and wastewater infrastructure continue to be one of the most important priorities in improving Romanian living standards, especially in rural areas. Waste management is still far short of European standards with low levels of re-use, recycling and energy recovery. Concerning water pollution from agriculture, the use of agricultural fertilisers and pesticides decreased, leading to an improvement in the quality of the surface waters. However, given the levels of nitrates accumulated (Romania's territory designated as Nitrate Vulnerable Zones, increased from 58% to 100% of the territory), particularly in groundwater, further soil and water conservation measures will be needed, particularly by implementing good agricultural practices. This will be particularly important in the context of the transition to more intensive agriculture, agricultural practices underway in some parts of the sector foreseen in the next period.
Action concerning adaptation to climate change will be developed in the framework of The National Climate Change Strategy for 2013-2020, adopted in July 2013 and to be complemented by the National Action Plan for Climate Change. The strategy encompasses a comprehensive overview and proposes key measures and actions for various sectors falling under mitigation and adaptation objectives and has two main directions for action:
- Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and depletion of the soil carbon stock;
- Adaptation to the negative effects of climate change through actions at national and sectoral level.
Adaptation to climate change will be also addressed in agricultural sector by a range of actions related to improve knowledge transfer and information on: energy efficiency in agricultural equipment, adaptation tools, including environmentally sustainable new practices, climate change risks information.
Current funds (horizon 2014-2020) will contribute significantly to the establishment of more -cohesive - natural landscapes, and to prevent further fragmentation and natural destruction of natural habitats.
- So far there has been no assessment at national level of the impact of biodiversity loss and the loss of ecosystem services. Nevertheless, several EU funded projects were implemented in this field. For example, Fundatia ADEPT’s work in the Tārnava Mare area won the prize for the best project in Europe for bringing Socio-Economic Benefits to farmers in protected Areas (Natura 2000 sites).
- Fundatia ADEPT’s project as 'an impressive example of Natura 2000 providing economic growth and sustainable livelihoods in rural areas. The project enables farmers to make a better living by working sustainably on High Nature Value farmland, while also preserving a unique landscape with rich biodiversity. Thanks to the project, 2300 farming families in the region generate income of more than €2.5 million annually, and similar ideas are now being applied in other parts of Romania'.
- Also, a Norwegian funds funded project regarding the assessment of ecosystem services was already approved in 2013 and it is expected to start at the end of 2014.
EU target 3
Increase the contribution of agriculture and forestry to maintaining and enhancing biodiversiy
The implementation of activities under this Target is in line with the Strategic Objective “Sustainable use of biological diversity components” from NBSAP 2014 - 2020. Ex situ conservation for agriculture in Romania is provided by the Gene Bank in Suceava that has acquired genetic resources considered valuable for agriculture, under governmental programs and bilateral agreements with different countries. Through the Gene Bank in Suceava, Romania participates with strands and hybrids of Romanian crop plants in community programs for the conservation of genetic resources. Before 1989 there were a number of institutions nationally with the necessary facilities for the conservation of various native breeds and strands, but nowadays, some 90% thereof have been closed down, with the irretrievable loss of many native breeds and strands. In a disorganised fashion, and only thanks to the preservation of traditions, Romanian farmers have expressed the willingness to practice on farm conservation, for the products and services they provide.
Target 3b: Forestry
In Romania, forest management is based on the sustainable management principles established by the Forestry Law – Law No. 46/ 2008 as subsequently amended, as follows: Promote practices that ensure the sustainable management of forests;
Ensure the integrity of the forest stock and forest permanence;
Increase forest coverage;
a) Stabilize long-term forestry policies;
b) Ensure the appropriate level of legal, institutional and operational continuity in forest management;
c) Primordiality of ecological objectives in forestry;
d) Enhanced role of forestry in rural development;
e) Promote the fundamental natural forest types and ensure the biological diversity of forests;
f) Harmonise forestry relations with other areas of activity;
g) Support to the forest owners and incentives for their association;
h) Prevent irreversible degradation of the forests caused by human action and destabilizing environmental factors.
53% of the Romanian forests (Total area of the Romanian national forest is 6,519,470 ha and represents 27.7% of the country - National Institute of Statistics) are protected and different forest management regimes are applied according to their function. Measures need to be developed to enhance the value of forest protection function. Also, measures for the integrated management of mountain forests and watercourses need to be established (torrents correction, landslides mitigation, avoiding clogging of water course). In the same vein is needed to use sustainable forest management (SFM) approaches for sequestering carbon, such as sustainable management of production forests, sustainable management of protection forests - protected areas, and afforestation. Out of 2,4 million ha of the High Nature Value (HNV) grassland identified, 1,2 million ha have been protected under the current Rural Development program by granting financial compensation to farmers who undertook commitments to apply management requirements. Besides HNV grassland protection, agricultural land management measures were designed and implemented with European funds financially support, covering an area of aprox. 84,000 ha, to protect a number of 4 threatened farmland bird species and 4 subspecies of butterflies. With regard to aquaculture, both the preservation of aquatic eco-systems and the application of safety measures to prevent escapes from farms that could affect wild species biodiversity are taken into consideration.
EU target 4
Ensure the sustainable use of fisheries resources and ensuring good environmental status of the marine environment
Action 14: Adverse impacts on fish stocks, species, habitats and ecosystems
- Reduced nutrient inputs has resulted in a reduction of algal bloom but this phenomena is still present;
- Benthic species biodiversity has improved, increasing from 20 (in the 1990s) to almost 40 at present;
- Zooplankton has been recovered particularly in offshore area, but is still vulnerable in the shallow;
- Fish fauna is still in a critical situation (sardines, blue mackerel, bonito fish etc.) even if the Romanian fishing capacity decreased tremendous after 1990.
Romania aims to support the fishing sector and related activities in reducing its environmental impact in line with the reformed Common Fisheries Policy. The use of selective fishing tools, gears and methods will contribute to the preservation of the aquatic habitat, accompanied by measures to strengthen the administrative capacity (especially activities regarding data collection, inspection and control in order to deter IUU fishing and to protect the environment).
Even if Romanian fisheries produces a low number of unwanted catches and discards, in order to further diminish the unwanted catches, measures to support sustainable fishing activities are still needed.
With regard to aquaculture, both the preservation of aquatic eco-systems and the application of safety measures to prevent escapes from farms that could affect wild species biodiversity are taken into consideration.
EU target 5
Combat Invasive Alien Species
- There is no clear national record of the number of invasive species, with the only summary of data and information provided to the European database, the PanEuropean Inventory of Alien Species – DAISE) on a voluntary basis, by the researchers.
- Romania is trying to finalise this year a national black list of invasive species, through a project in partnership with Fribourg University form Switzerland.
- At the national level, a number of research programs have been conducted, among which Invasive Species Monitoring and Early Detection System – 2010 and Identification of Alien Invasive and Potentially Invasive Plants in Romania and Assessment of Their Impact on Natural and Semi-Natural Habitats in View of Initiating Prevention and Control Measures and the most recent - Alien plants in Danube Delta; risk assessment and management – which was finalized in 2011.
EU target 6
Help avert global biodiversity loss
Action 17a: Drivers of biodiversity loss
- One of the operational objectives is the “Identification and inclusion of incentives for the sustainable use of biodiversity components and removal of those with a negative impact”. There are no specific national indicators developed to evaluate overall realization of the Target 3.
- Strategic documents deals with sustainable production and consumption only to some extent but the impact of resource use on biodiversity and ecosystem services is not yet covered as it should.
- The implementation of Aichi Target 4 thus appears to be one of the biggest gaps in the present biodiversity conservation at the national level as it is not sufficiently covered by national strategic documents.
After accession, the large corporations and companies in Romania have become more careful about environmental problems, including aspects of biodiversity conservation, and developed and funded corporate social responsibility projects.
Romania has signed the Nagoya Protocol in 2011 and its ratification is expected by the end of 2014 or in 2015.