Exemplary nature conservation: Hosting the European Natura 2000 Award

The European Natura 2000 Award was established by the European Commission to raise awareness amongst EU citizens about Natura 2000. Natura 2000 is a network of protected sites designated under the EU Birds and Habitats Directives. The network aims to protect habitats and species in areas selected due to their ecological importance. Following on from its successful inauguration in 2014 and the second edition in 2015, adelphi organised the European Natura 2000 Award for a third year in 2016.

Despite the fact that Natura 2000 is the most extensive and complete supranational protected area network in the world, few EU citizens know of its existence and even fewer what it really involves. Therefore, the European Natura 2000 Award aims to raise general awareness about the network. In particular, the Award highlights exemplary conservation projects from across the EU, and supports networking between those involved in Natura 2000 management and communication. As in previous years, prizes were awarded in the following five categories: Conservation, Communication, Socio-Economic Benefits, Cross-Border Cooperation and Networking and Reconciling Interests/Perceptions. In addition, the 2016 Award cycle also featured the second edition of the “European Natura 2000 Citizens’ Award”. To this end, an online voting scheme was established that gave the European public the opportunity to decide which of the finalist projects should be awarded with this public choice award.

adelphi, together with two partners, managed the secretariat for the preparation and organisation of the awards on behalff of the European Commission. The secretariat was 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.