DELTA Nature - Integrated approach N2000 Delta Nature to catalyse the implementation of the Netherlands’ Prioritised Action Framework

LIFE15 IPE/NL/000016

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Contact details:

Contact person: Dennis VAN SCHAARDENBURG
Email: m.d.vanschaardenburg@minez.nl

Project description:


The Netherlands has made significant progress towards reaching Natura 2000 network implementation targets. In several wetland Natura 2000 sites, however, challenges remain to achieving objectives. The main problems hampering conservation and restoration of biodiversity nationally are fragmentation, groundwater depletion, eutrophication and shortage of suitable habitat. For wetland Natura 2000 sites in particular, the development of resilient natural areas is also hindered by the disappearance of tidal nature and natural connectivity as well as the decline in meandering in riverine water systems. The disappearance of natural structures facilitating biodiversity and the pressure on Natura 2000 sites from fisheries and other economic activities is also a problem.

Given the density of the country’s population, conflicts arise between flood defences and the multifunctional use of public space in wetland Natura 2000 sites. Different sectoral interests are reflected in their management; responsibilities are divided between different stakeholders, each focusing on specific sectoral objectives rather than on jointly achieving all objectives. Dutch delta regions are an example of natural areas that are subject to a complex governance structure, leading to missed opportunities for achieving nature-related objectives alongside economic, water management and flood protection goals.

Seizing these opportunities is urgently needed to achieve national Natura 2000 objectives. In this respect, the Dutch Prioritised Action Framework (PAF) particularly mentions the coupling of tasks related to water safety, freshwater supply, water quality and other functions with the development of nature.


The IPE Deltanatuur project focuses on the implementation of the Dutch PAF and achieving the objectives of the EU Biodiversity Strategy by:

  • Fully implementing the Birds and Habitats Directives and Natura 2000;
  • Strengthening biodiversity by combining nature objectives with other functional and societal objectives; and
  • Strengthening biodiversity by restoring and improving natural processes and dynamics. This IP will develop and implement an integrated governance approach for optimal coordination of interests in wet Natura 2000 sites. The proposal focuses on removing barriers for Natura 2000 implementation in the Dutch large water areas (the Netherlands delta nature). The plan covers 82% of the total Nature 2000 surface area in the Netherlands.
  • Specific objectives are to:

  • Optimise coordination between governmental bodies and build capacity of beneficiaries;
  • Ensure stakeholder involvement from an early phase and cooperate with stakeholders to assess issues hampering Natura 2000 implementation and jointly develop solutions to address these issues;
  • Ensure alignment and create synergy between Natura 2000 development and water-related programmes;
  • Ensure optimal knowledge exchange between stakeholders;
  • Develop innovative approaches to achieving Natura 2000 objectives;
  • Implement pilot projects/best practices demonstrating the benefits of the governance assessment model, and actively disseminate lessons learned; and
  • Coordinate financial resources optimally.

In addition to the IP budget itself, the project will facilitate the coordinated use of €144,848,313 complementary funding from Interreg, (sub)national and private funds.


Expected results:

  • A well-structured integrated governance approach for spatial interventions including better links to the nature objectives of the Dutch delta areas, broadly supported by relevant stakeholders;
  • Strategic capacities built at 23 beneficiaries and stakeholders, ensuring long-term sustainability of project results and actions;
  • Successful demonstration of this integrated approach in pilot projects in areas where tensions between nature, flood protection and economic interests have earlier led to a fragmented approach;
  • Improved conditions for habitats and species;
  • Increased synergy between Natura 2000 development and other executive programmes;
  • Improved transnational cooperation;
  • Capacity of beneficiaries and stakeholders increased to achieve each other’s objectives and the potential benefits of an integrated approach;
  • Raised public awareness on the natural value of the Dutch delta areas; and
  • Crucial obstacles in cooperation removed, enabling implementation of the Dutch PAF.

  • Top

Environmental issues addressed:


Land-use & Planning - Sensitive and protected areas management
Habitats - Coastal
Habitats - Freshwater


flood‚  wetlands ecosystem‚  wetland‚  water resources management‚  coastal management

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...
  • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 ...
  • Water
  • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)
  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 79/409 - Conservation of wild birds (02.04.1979)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Ministry of Economic Affairs Netherlands
Type of organisation National authority
Description The Dutch ministry of economic affairs is tasked with preserving and strengthening the natural environment of the Netherlands to the benefit of the population. It aims to enhance the biodiversity of natural systems by 2020 so that they contribute to water and food security, poverty reduction and wellbeing. The ministry is partially responsible for the implementation of the Natura 2000 network objectives.
Partners Ministerie van Infrastructuur en Milieu, The Netherlands Vereniging tot Behoud van Natuurmonumenten in Nederland, The Netherlands Staatsbosbeheer, The Netherlands Nederlandse Vereniging tot Bescherming van Vogels, The Netherlands Provincie Flevoland, The Netherlands Provincie Zeeland, The Netherlands Waterschap Vechtstromen, The Netherlands Waterschap Aa en Maas, The Netherlands Hoogheemraadschap Hollands Noorderkwartier, The Netherlands Hoogheemraadschap Schieland en Krimpenerwaard, The Netherlands Hoogheemraadschap De Stichte Rijnlanden, The Netherlands Gemeente Rotterdam, The Netherlands EMS Films Holland B.V., The Netherlands Cascade - Vereniging van zand- en grindproductenten, The Netherlands Het Zeeuws Landschap, The Netherlands Stichting ARK, The Netherlands Stichting Het Wereld Natuur Fonds-Nederland, The Netherlands Waddenvereninging, The Netherlands Stichting Landschappen, The Netherlands Stichting de Natuur en Milieufederaties, The Netherlands Stichting Waal-Maas Symbiose, The Netherlands Stichting Ecoshape, building with nature, The Netherlands


Project reference LIFE15 IPE/NL/000016
Duration 01-OCT-2016 to 30-SEP -2022
Total budget 17,442,390.00 €
EU contribution 10,465,434.00 €
Project location Zuid-Holland(Nederland)


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Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version