To stress the primary role of local and regional authorities in defining and implementing this strategy; and to urge local and regional authorities to take steps in all the relevant sectorial policies, in particular through their spatial and urban planning;
To emphasise that the key to successful green infrastructure (GI) deployment lies in the effective implementation of multilevel governance principles as well as in participation of all parties and stakeholders;
To call on the Commission to draw up, as soon as possible, concrete implementation guides on integrating GI into the range of EU polices; to call for additional fact-sheets on urban GI, and to call for GI to be included in the reference framework for sustainable cities overseen by DG REGIO;
To emphasise the urgency of establishing arrangements for including GI and its priority status in the 2014-2020 EU operational funding programmes currently being designed;
To call on the Commission to incorporate requirements to achieve the goal of causing no net loss of biodiversity into European law;
To welcome the announcement that the Commission, together with the EIB, will endeavour to establish by 2014 a special EU financing facility for promoters of GI projects. The CoR would like to see local and regional authorities involved in its design. To advocate in addition allocating a certain percentage of all EU support for the deployment of grey infrastructure to a biodiversity fund;
To call for the TEN-G initiative to have the same relevance the relevant trans-European transport, energy or ICT networks, and asks the Commission to explore the scope for EU legislation in this area.
The Opinion allowed the CoR to raise awareness of the European Institutions to support regions in investing in green infrastructure in the next funding period of 2014-2020. Moreover, by the Opinion the ENVE Commission lived up to its commitment to cooperate with the European Commission and UNEP in implementing the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, which includes green infrastructure as a key action.
The activities of the rapporteur, other ENVE Commission members and of the CoR Secretariat have contributed to increasing the profile, interinstitutional role and visibility of the CoR in the field of biodiversity. This concerns the participation of ENVE Member Mrs Tillemann as speaker in the Annual Conference of the European Parliament Intergroup “Climate Change, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development” and in particular the conference co-organised by the ENVE Secretariat with the EESC and the European Commission " Green Infrastructure: engaging regions, cities and civil society on 5 December 2012. This conference was very well attended, accompanied by a joint CoR/EESC press release, and saw high-level participation, including the participation of Commissioner Janez Potocnik, the CoR and EESC rapporteurs and Sandrine Bélier, Member of the European Parliament leading on the EP resolution. The CoR also hosted the 2nd European Conference on Regions and Biodiversity, organised by ECNC/UNEP, in which the rapporteur had a prominent position.
The European Parliament adopted on 12 December 2013 its resolution on green infrastructure.
While the resolution stays, in comparison to the CoR Opinion, unfortunately less concrete on future actions requested from the EU to advance on green infrastructure, it reflects some recommendations of the CoR Opinion, namely it:
• stresses the need to integrate green infrastructure into operational programmes under EU financing instruments for the 2014-2020 period; and urges the Commission to finalise in a timely manner, i.e. by the end of 2013, the support guidance material announced in the communication;
• urges the Member States to integrate and prioritise green infrastructure in spatial and land-use planning, and asks the Commission to support guidance and benchmarking in this area;
• stresses the need for grey infrastructure programmes and projects which are co-funded by the EU to integrate green infrastructure elements and mitigate impacts on existing ecosystems; and for permit procedures for new developments or grey infrastructure need to ensure full assessment of any negative impacts on ecosystems and existing green infrastructure in order to avoid and mitigate such impacts;
• calls on the Commission and the EIB to quickly establish and make operational a financing facility;
• supports the TEN-G as announced in the communication and calls on the Commission to deliver on the development of a TEN-G scheme by 2015.
THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- stresses the primary role of local and regional authorities in defining and implementing the initiative and urges them to take steps in all the relevant sectorial policies, in particular through their spatial and urban planning, to plan and organise green infrastructure (GI); emphasises that the key to successful GI deployment lies in effective multilevel governance and in the participation of all parties and stakeholders;
- calls on the Commission to complete, as soon as possible, concrete implementation guides on integrating GI into the range of EU polices; and calls for additional fact-sheets on urban GI; GI should be included in the Reference Framework for Sustainable Cities and the future Urban Development Network;
- emphasises the urgency of establishing arrangements for including GI and its priority status in the partnership agreements and operational funding programmes as they are currently being designed for the cohesion and structural funds 2014-2020;
- calls on the Commission to incorporate requirements aimed at preventing any net loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services into EU legislation; asks the Commission to maintain and extend the eco-conditionality and biodiversity proofing of EU funding; advocates in addition allocating a certain percentage of all EU support for the deployment of grey infrastructure to a biodiversity fund;
- welcomes the announcement that the Commission, together with the EIB, will endeavour to establish by 2014 a special EU financing facility for promoters of GI projects; would like to see local and regional authorities involved in its design;
- welcomes the TEN-G initiative and calls for it to have the same pan-European relevance as transport, energy or ICT networks; and asks the Commission to explore the scope for EU legislation in this area.