Articles 12 and 16 of the Habitats Directive are aimed at the establishment and implementation of a strict protection regime for animal species listed in Annex IV(a) of the Habitats Directive within the whole territory of Member States.
In order to provide guidance on the implementation of these Articles, the Commission has, in close consultation with Member States, elaborated a "Guidance document on the strict protection of animal species" in 2007. The document is intended to ensure a common understanding of the respective provisions among national and regional authorities, conservation bodies and other structures responsible for, or involved in, the implementation of the Habitats Directive. It should provide help for elaborating pragmatic ways of dealing with the provisions and making them effective and practical, while fully respecting the legal framework.
"Guidance document on the strict protection of animal species of Community interest under the 'Habitats' Directive 92/43/EEC" (final version Feb 2007 )
(pdf ~550 KB).
In 2008 the Commission began to support the development of Species Action Plans for selected species listed in the Habitats Directive. The plans are intended to be used as a tool for identifying and prioritising measures to restore the populations of these species across their range within the EU. They provide information about the status, ecology, threats and current conservation measures for each species and list the key actions that are required to improve their conservation status in Europe. Each Plan is the result of an extensive process of consultation with individual experts in Europe.
The plans are intended to assist Member States in the conservation of these species but they not legally binding documents nor do they engage the Member States beyond their existing legal commitments under this Directive.
Financed by the European Commission, the Wildlife and Sustainable Farming Initiative (2007-2009) looked at how the conservation of certain species of wildlife protected under the Habitats and Birds Directives can be supported through the Rural Development Programmes (2007-2013).
The final report is in two parts: the first part looks at the opportunities offered by the CAP and RDP for wildlife conservation, particularly in relation to the provisions of the Habitats and Birds Directives. The second part contains a series of fact sheets for the 12 endangered animal species.
Each 8 page fact sheet provides key information about the species ecology, its threats and beneficial farming/forestry practices and highlights the dirrerent opportunities available for integrating the species conservation needs into the different measures of CAP (e.g. Pillar I and Pillar II) as illustrated by practical examples from different countries/regions.
Individual Species fact sheets:
Member States are required under the Habitats Directive (Article 17) to monitor the conservation status of the habitat types and species covered by the Directive and to report their findings to the Commission every 6 years. The first so called Article 17 reports cover the period 2001-2006.
Articlea.16 of the Habitats Directive identifies the conditions under which Member States can from the strict species protection provisions. Every two years Member States are required to report about these derogations to the European Commission.