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Inaugural Natura 2000 Award finalists announced

25/04/2014

BRUSSELS – A shortlist of 22 finalists for the inaugural Natura 2000 Award has been unveiled, reflecting the diversity and dedication of conservation efforts across Europe. The five winners – one from each Award category – will be announced at a high-profile ceremony in Brussels on 21 May. Registration for the event is now open, and members of the press are invited to attend.

 

Natura 2000 – the EU’s network of more than 27 000 protected areas designated under the EU Birds and Habitats Directives – currently covers around 18% of EU terrestrial landmass and 4% of marine areas. It has been very successful in protecting and enhancing Europe’s natural heritage.

The aim of this Award is to recognise excellence in Natura 2000 site management, showcasing the value of the network for local communities and economies and boosting public awareness. A total of 163 applications were submitted by Natura 2000 sites Europe-wide, from Alpine mountain regions to coastal marsh zones and from meadows to forests.

From the shortlist, one winner will now be selected by a high-level Jury for each of the five categories: Conservation, Socio-Economic Benefits, Communication, Reconciling Interests/Perceptions, and Networking and Cross-Border Cooperation.

The five winners will be announced at an Award ceremony in Brussels on 21 May. Trophies will be handed to the winners by the European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potočnik, and members of the Award Jury. Registration for this event is now open and members of the press are invited to attend.

Background

The Natura 2000 Award was launched by the European Commission to recognise excellence in the management of Natura 2000 sites and conservation achievements, showcasing the added value of the network for local economies, and increasing public awareness about Europe’s valuable natural heritage.

The first call for applications was open from mid-December 2013 to 18 February 2014 to any entity directly involved in Natura 2000 (public and local authorities, businesses, NGOs, land owners, educational institutions and individuals).

The eligible applications received were evaluated by an independent expert panel and the shortlist of 22 finalists has now been submitted to a high-level Jury to decide upon the winners.