The Government are already working closely with the European Commission and other European Union member states to stimulate growth in environmental markets. This is being done through our input into initiatives such as the Environmental Technologies Action Plan, the High Level Group on Energy, Environment and Competitiveness and the Framework Programme on Competitiveness and Innovation.
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will propose measures to help the European Commission to increase its wetlands biodiversity conservation programme in both member states and nearby non-member countries, following recent initiatives in the three Maghreb projects. [HL1071]
Biodiversity conservation within the European Community, including wetlands, has been promoted and supported in a number of ways. This has occurred most notably via the EC habitats and birds directives and by funding from the nature conservation strand of the LIFE III Regulation (LIFE Nature).
The “Maghreb” wetlands project is aimed at supporting wetland management and capacity building in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. It was 65 per cent co-funded through a different strand of the LIFE Programme (LIFE Third Countries). This strand supported the building of environmental capacity in countries bordering the territory of the EU; that is, European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) countries.
Future support for ENP countries will be provided through a dedicated European neighbourhood and partnership instrument (ENPI). Between 2007 and 2013, ENPI funding will approach €12 billion, including access to thematic programmes (€465 million from the development co-operation instrument), one of which focuses directly on environment issues. The European Commission is expected to present a strategy setting out priorities for the funding of environment-related issues once its content has been agreed.
LIFE Nature will become part of the new LIFE+ regulation. This has not yet been implemented and is currently subject to a conciliation procedure between the European Council and European Parliament.