The Natura 2000 Award aims to raise awareness about the Natura 2000 network. Despite the key role it plays in protecting biodiversity across the European Union (EU), a recent survey suggests awareness of the network amongst European citizens is low. However, the results also indicate that EU citizens would like to be better informed about biodiversity. Following the call for applications, the European Commission is looking forward to receiving many submissions from people directly involved in Natura 2000, including businesses, local and regional authorities, NGOs, volunteers, land owners, educational institutions and individuals. With the deadline for applications approaching there has been high levels of interest in the award with hundreds of registrations on the website, numerous enquiries to the mail box and an increasing number of full submitted applications.
The deadline for applications for this first year of the award is 18 February. Applications will then be assessed by a panel of evaluators before being judged by an international expert jury. The high level award ceremony will take place in Brussels in May 2014. adelphi and two partner organisations are organising the inaugeral European Natura 2000 Award.