Public awareness (SEBI 026) - Assessment DRAFT created Nov 2010
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- SEBI 026
Key policy question: What is the level of public awareness about biodiversity in Europe? Are people willing to take action?
Two-thirds of EU citizens do not know the meaning of the word 'biodiversity', let alone understand what the threats and challenges to its conservation are. Most EU citizens have never heard of the Natura 2000 network (78 %). However, over two-thirds of EU citizens report personally making efforts to help preserve nature.
Familiarity with the term biodiversity (EU-27) in 2007 (left) and 2010 (right)
Note: How to read the graph: in 2010, 34 % of EU citizens have never heard of biodiversity.
Gallup Organization, 2007. Flash Eurobarometer Series No 219
Gallup Organization, 2010. Flash Eurobarometer Series No. 290.
Recent surveys (1) showed that only about one-third of EU citizens were familiar with the term ‘biodiversity’: more precisely, 38% of interviewees said they knew the meaning of the term (a three percentage point increase compared to 2007) and that few feel well informed about biodiversity loss.
Two-thirds of EU citizens do not know the meaning of the word ‘biodiversity’, let alone understand the threats and challenges to its conservation. That does not mean, however, they are unaware of environmental matters. When the issue is explained to them, over two-thirds consider the loss of biodiversity a serious problem, although more so at the global rather than the local level. The main threats to biodiversity identified by Europeans both in 2007 and 2010 surveys – pollution and man-made disasters – indicate that the level of understanding of the problem is still inadequate.
The survey also reveals that Europeans are unaware of what the EU is doing to save biodiversity: Only one in five has ever heard of Natura 2000, the EU’s main programme for biodiversity conservation, and only 8 % of respondents indicated they really knew what Natura 2000 meant (slight increase compared to the year 2007). Most EU citizens have never heard of the Natura 2000 network (78%). The Natura 2000 programme needs urgent attention as far as communication to the public is concerned.
If the survey is repeated at regular intervals, it will be possible to identify trends and assess the effectiveness of existing and future policies aimed at raising public awareness and participation with regards to biodiversity.
(1) Gallup Organization, 2007. Flash Eurobarometer Series No. 219, Gallup Organization, 2010. Flash Eurobarometer Series No. 290.
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Contacts and ownership
EEA Contact InfoKatarzyna Biala
EEA Management Plan2011 1.2.2 (note: EEA internal system)
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
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