The Natura 2000 Award is designed to reward excellence in the management of Natura 2000 sites and showcase the added value of the network for local economies. It pays tribute to all those who are working tirelessly on making Natura 2000 an operational success whilst drawing public attention to its substantial achievements.
The Natura 2000 Network works to ensure the long-term survival of Europe's most valuable and threatened species and habitats, and is the centrepiece of the EU's nature and biodiversity policy. It is made up of over 27,000 sites so far. In total, they cover almost a fifth of Europe’s land area and an important part of the surrounding seas, making it the largest coordinated network of conservation areas anywhere in the world.
Yet, despite its scale and the wealth of benefits it provides, many Europeans have still not heard of Natura 2000. This is why, in 2014, the European Commission launched the annual European Natura 2000 Award. The aim of the award is to demonstrate what the network is, what it does to preserve Europe’s biodiversity, and how it benefits us all.
The 2018 edition of the Natura 2000 Award was launched on 15 May 2017.The deadline for submitting applications was 15 October 2017. The winners will be announced at a high level ceremony in Brussels in May 2018.
The first three years of the Natura 2000 Award highlighted the astonishing array of initiatives on and dedication to Natura 2000 management and promotion taking place right across Europe.
The Benchmarking reports from previous Award editions also include important tips for potential applicants.