With over 160 applications from 26 EU Member States, the European Natura 2000 Award was a great success in its inaugural year, 2014. Now, adelphi and Stella Consulting have published an Environmental Benchmarking Report which allows the Natura 2000 community, including past and potential future applicants to the Award scheme, to quickly access information about the 2014 applications.
The report reveals ten recurrent traits of good practice ("elements of success"). These have been used to structure the catalogue of good practice that forms the core of the report. Elements of success include traits that are specifically relevant to Natura 2000, including attracting new actors, involving all stakeholders, conceptual and technical innovation, looking beyond individual sites and realising socio-economic benefits. One striking result: Applications that received good ratings also often did so in part because they followed general good practice in project planning and implementation.
The Natura 2000 Award aims to raise awareness about good practice in the network of protected nature sites across the EU known as Natura 2000. The results demonstrate the huge amount of expertise, experience and ingenuity that is being invested in the network by a diverse and vibrant Union-wide community of Natura 2000 actors. It shows that Natura 2000 is a network in progress, but already one of the great achievements of the European Union. adelphi supports the European Commission in all aspects of the organisation and implementation of the Award competition.