The European Commission launched the European Natura 2000 Award to increase awareness of the Natura 2000 network among EU citizens. The network links different areas protected under the EU Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive and aims to protect habitats and species in areas of special ecological importance. After a successful launch in 2014 and the subsequent award ceremonies in 2015, 2016 and 2018, adelphi once again helped the European Commission host and improve the awards for the 2020 edition.
Despite being the world’s biggest supranational network of conservation areas, Natura 2000 is known to few EU citizens. The European Natura 2000 Award has potential to significantly raise awareness of the network among the general public. The award also highlights exemplary projects that help conserve natural areas and species throughout the EU and promotes exchange among all those involved in management and communication for Natura 2000. As in previous years, the 2020 awards were awarded in five categories: conservation, communication, socio-economic benefits, cross-border cooperation and networking, and reconciling interests/perceptions. In 2020, for the fourth time, there was also a European public choice award: citizens voted online to select the winner of the European Citizens’ Award.
adelphi and three partners are managing the Natura 2000 Award Secretariat 2020 on behalf of the European Commission. The Secretariat is responsible for the application and evaluation process, organises the award ceremony, handles the PR and organises further events at the local level.