Natura 2000 Citizens' Award launched: Vote now for your favourite conservation project

The finalists for the 2016 European Natura 2000 Award have been announced. Now it’s on the European public: Until 8 May, European citizens have the chance to vote for their favourite! The finalist that gains the most votes will be awarded with the European Natura 2000 Citizens' Award.

22/03/2016

In the course of this year's European Natura 2000 Award competition, applications have already been subjected to a rigorous evaluation process. A total of 24 applications made it through to the finalist stage. Now, a high level jury selects the best applications from each of the five Award categories: Communication, Conservation, Socio-Economic Benefits, Reconciling Interests/Perceptions, and Cross-border Cooperation and Networking.

After the positive experiences last year, European citizens can again be directly involved in the 2016 Award process. As of now and until 8 May, the European public can vote online for their favourite conservation project. The finalist that gains the most votes will be awarded with the "European Natura 2000 Citizens' Award". Both the selected category winners and the winner of this public choice award will be honoured at a high level ceremony on 23 May.

Click here and cast your vote now.

With their vote, European citizens acknowledge the hard work of those who manage, through very different activities, a variety of Natura 2000 sites. The long-term objective is to raise awareness about the Natura 2000 network and mobilise the European public to promote the network. For further information on the finalists and the European Citizens’ Award please visit the Natura 2000 website. You can also register online to attend the Award ceremony and meet the winners in person.

The Natura 2000 Award - promoting excellence in management of the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world

Natura 2000 is an EU-wide coordinated network of protected areas for the protection of endangered or characteristic habitats and species. Established under the EU's Birds Directive and Habitats Directive, the network consists of over 27,000 sites, covering around 20 per cent 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.

Not only does Natura 2000 provide an array of environmental advantages, it also serves essential – and sometimes unnoticed – social and economic functions. Around 4.4 million jobs are directly dependent on the maintenance of 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. Please find further information on the Natura 2000 website and in the Award e-newsletter.