Development activities in the various economic sectors have profound impacts on biological diversity. To minimize adverse impacts and to promote the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable development of its components, it is essential that such considerations are incorporated into development plans at the planning stage itself.
Ensure that potential impacts of projects, programmes, plans and policies on biodiversity are assessed and reflected in planning processes (e.g. town planning and zoning schemes) and environmental assessments, and that decision-making seeks to avoid impacts, to minimise risks, and to mitigate adverse impacts wherever possible.
Integrate consideration of the cumulative and secondary impacts on biological diversity of development proposals, and the reversibility of proposed actions over time, into regional planning processes and environmental impact assessment procedures.
Ensuring that potential impacts of projects, programmes, plans and policies on biodiversity are assessed in an integrated manner and by competent professionals.
In spite of many important initiatives, biological and landscape diversity has declined rapidly over the past decades. Intensified exploitation of the natural resources, mainly in the rural sector, is the major cause of deterioration, followed by urban expansion and the development of infrastructure and transport. While protected areas are important, more is needed to conserve the biological and landscape diversity which is affected mainly by the increasing development of human activities.
The Environmental Programme for Europe recommends: (1) implementing the [Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy] prepared under the auspices of the Council of Europe, and ensuring its integration with other policy actions put forward in the Environmental Programme for Europe; (2) supporting the application of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) report Biological and Landscape Diversity in Central and Eastern Europe: Best Practices for Conservation Planning in Rural Areas; (3) ensuring that adequate measures are taken to safeguard biodiversity, whenever areas important to national and international biodiversity are privatized, and encourage the involvement of nature conservation organizations in its management; (4) encouraging an adequate contribution from national, bilateral and multilateral funds to actively promote the conservation of biological and landscape diversity, and developing and applying innovative financing mechanisms for this purpose; (5) promoting awareness and involvement of the public in the conservation of biological and landscape diversity; (6) supporting the efforts for the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and other relevant legally-binding instruments in the region; and (7) ensuring that the Arctic Environment Protection Strategy is fully implemented to prevent the further deterioration of the specially vulnerable biodiversity of the circumpolar area of Europe.