Applications close end of September for European Natura 2000 Award

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Applications close end of September for European Natura 2000 AwardApplications close on the 29th of September for the 2018 European Natura 2000 Award, which honours leading nature conservation achievements.

The Natura 2000 Award is dedicated to rewarding excellence in the management and promotion of Natura 2000 and to raising awareness about the protected site network and its benefits to European citizens.

It is open to any organisation or person involved in Natura 2000, including public and local authorities, businesses, NGOs, land owners, educational institutions and individuals.

The Natura 2000 Award is part of the Commission’s recently adopted Action Plan for nature, people and the economy which aims to improve the implementation of the EU Habitats and Birds Directives over the next 3 years.

The Action Plan has also proclaimed the 21 of May to be European Natura 2000 Day. This special day will be celebrated through hundreds of public events across Europe.

Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries will host a special ceremony in Brussels on that day when the winners of the Natura 2000 Award will be announced.

The Award is now in its fourth year. So far, there have been 69 finalists and 17 winners whose activities have been highlighted by the Award.

The Award is made up of five categories: Conservation; Socio-Economic Benefits; Communication; Reconciling Interests/Perceptions and Cross-Border Cooperation and Networking as well as a European Citizens’ Award which provides the general public with an opportunity to vote for their favourite project.

Natura 2000 is the centrepiece of the EU’s nature and biodiversity policy. Established under the EU’s Birds Directive and Habitats Directive, it is an EU-wide network of over 27,000 terrestrial and marine sites, covering more than 18% of land area and 6% of sea in the EU.

These areas protected by the network, contribute not only to biodiversity but also between 1.7 and 2.5% to EU GDP through the provision of ecosystem services such as carbon storage, water purification, pollination and tourism.

The European Commission’s new Action Plan to step up the implementation of the Habitats and Birds Directives, consists of 15 actions to be carried out by 2019, and is about improving the management of these areas, connecting nature protection and socio-economic activities more broadly, and engaging with national authorities, stakeholders and young people.

Applicants are encouraged to apply now to receive EU recognition of their efforts to support nature.

For more information on how to apply, please consult the website

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