Major international agreements and European and national policies, including the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy, are in place to tackle global declines in biodiversity. However, despite these efforts, targets are far from achieved in aquatic ecosystems. In order to revert current trends, it is necessary to not only understand the mechanisms that drive on-going biodiversity loss, but to also identify where existing policies can either hinder or support biodiversity conservation efforts.

As a first step in assessing the relevant policy framework protecting or hindering aquatic biodiversity across the European Union, the AQUACROSS project undertook a thorough policy review of the 25 major EU policies connected to biodiversity across all aquatic realms. The review includes environmental policies, as well as sectoral policies from the energy, agriculture or waste sector. The overall aim of the review was to capture relevant information from the identified relevant policies in a comparative manner. Thus, all reviews are structured and framed by identical templates, which were developed by AQUACROSS partners specifically for this exercise. To extract the most relevant information for the later analysis of “Synergies and Differences between Biodiversity, Nature, Water and Marine Environment EU Policies”, information on reporting units, terminology, underlying objectives, key planning steps and timelines, amongst others, were reviewed for each policy.

Comprehensive reviews are accessible for the following EU policies: