The European Natura 2000 Award recognises excellence in the network’s site management and highlights the most effective and innovative initiatives, showcasing the value of this diverse and precious network for local communities and economies. Today, the European Commission has launched the third edition of the Award.
"The Natura 2000 network is one of the EU’s outstanding achievements, recognising that people should live within, and not parallel to, natural ecosystems. It is also an extremely effective framework to connect the thousands of Europeans working and volunteering to conserve our precious natural heritage", said EU Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella on the occasion of the launch. "For the past two years, the Natura 2000 Award has been highlighting top achievements to halt biodiversity loss. In 2016, we will once again recognise the best of the best and I encourage authorities, organisations, business and individuals involved in the Natura 2000 network to apply now for this prestigious award."
About the Natura 2000 Award
The annual Award 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 European Natura 2000 Award comprises five categories: Conservation; Socio-Economic Benefits; Communication; Reconciling Interests/Perceptions and Cross-Border Cooperation and Networking. In the first two years of the European Natura 2000 Award, over 250 applications were received, with 45 finalists and 11 proud winners.
In addition, the 2016 Award cycle will also feature the second edition of the European Natura 2000 Citizens’ Award. To this end, an online voting scheme will be established that will give the European public the opportunity to decide which of the finalist projects should be awarded with this public choice award. Introduced for the first time in 2015, the Citizens’ Award received an enthusiastic response from the public with 25 000 votes being cast.
Following the application deadline on 15 December 2015, the submissions will be assessed and a shortlist of finalists will be drawn up in March 2016. All winners will be announced at a high-level ceremony in Brussels in May 2016.
The application form and more information can be sourced from the Award’s website. Please also sign up to receive the award e-newsletter: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/natura2000/awards/index_en.htm
Following on from its successful inauguration in 2014 and the second edition in 2015, adelphi continues to organise the European Natura 2000 Award for a third year in 2016. adelphi is the lead contractor for the Commission organising the secretariat for the Award with two partners. The secretariat is responsible for running the application and evaluation process, organising the Award ceremony and the communication around it and following this up with the local events.
About Natura 2000
Natura 2000 is the centrepiece of 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 around 20 % of land area and substantial parts of the surrounding seas. The aim of the network is to assure the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species. Functioning ecosystems protected by Natura 2000 benefit human health, society and the economy. In addition to providing an array of environmental advantages, Natura 2000 serves essential – and sometimes unnoticed – social and economic functions. Around 4.4 million jobs directly depend on healthy ecosystems, a significant proportion of which are situated within Natura 2000 sites. In addition, the financial benefits that flow from the network itself are estimated to be in the region range of 200 to 300 billion Euros per year.