During the course of a festive ceremony, Karmenu Vella, the European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, granted the European Natura 2000 Award to five European conservation projects that have made outstanding contributions to the preservation and cultivation of the Natura 2000 nature reserves. For the first time this year, the European Commissioner also honoured the winner of the European Natura 2000 Citizens' Award. An evaluation team of independent experts preliminarily selected the top 23 applications from a total of five categories. A high ranking jury then chose the category winners, while at the same time, the citizens of the EU were asked to choose their favourites in an online vote. With more than 25,000 votes cast, the first edition of this public prize was a great success.
adelphi has been leading the development and organisation of the Award together with two partners since it was launched in 2013. Together the partners select the team of evalulators and support them in their assignment, coordinate the media and public relations work surrounding the awards, organise the Award ceremony and evaluate the Award results.
Natura 2000 is a network of more than 27,000 nature conservation areas of inestimable value to the diversity of European fauna and flora. In total, the network covers 18 per cent of the EU’s land mass and 4 per cent of its marine area, thereby contributing to the protection and expansion of Europe’s precious but threatened natural heritage. With the European Natura 2000 Award and the Citizen’s Award, the European Commission is looking to strengthen the general understanding of the Natura 2000 network as well as public awareness of European nature conservation.