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2016 Award Winners

The 2016 Award winners announced at the high level Ceremony on 23 May 2016 in Brussels!

The six winners of the 2016 Natura 2000 Awards were announced at a prestigious Ceremony in Brussels on 23 May 2016. The six winners include projects from Bulgaria, France/Belgium, Latvia, Spain, the United Kingdom and a trans-boundary project involving Bulgaria, Finland, Greece, Hungary and Norway.

Winners have been selected for each of the five categories: Conservation, Communication, Reconciling Interests/Perceptions, Socio-Economic Benefits, and Cross-border cooperation and Networking. In addition, the second winner of the Citizens' Award was announced.  All six winners received trophies from the European Commissioner for the Environment, Karmenu Vella and members of the high level jury.

And the winners are …

The Conservation Award went to the Demonstrating success in blanket bog restoration at the RSPB / United Utilities partnership, in the United Kingdom.  The project addressed the loss of peat-building sphagnum mosses and heavy peat erosion in the South Pennines blanket bogs in England caused by centuries of atmospheric pollution from nearby industrial towns. Local volunteers are vital to this work and have been a key part of conservation efforts. [more]

Applicants: RSBP and United Utilities

The Communication Award went to the "Nature Concerthall" project, implemented in Latvia, for creating an innovative approach for raising public awareness of the importance of nature conservation.  Implemented by a partnership of artists and scientists, it has been tested and practised for over 10 years in more than 17 municipalities in Latvia. The events so far have taken place on or near eight different Natura 2000 sites and reached over 10,000 people. [more]

Applicant: Nature Concerthall Association

The Reconciling interests/perceptions Award goes to the "Creating green corridors for biodiversity under high-tension lines project in Belgium and France". Two system operators in cooperation with authorities, environmental consultancies and NGOs have undertaken an initiative to test alternative methods for maintaining the strips under the powerlines and creating green corridors across 35 Natura 2000 sites. [more]

Applicant: LIFE Elia-RTE

"For the Balkans and the People: Nature Protection and Sustainable Rural Development", Bulgaria won the Socio-Economic Benefits Award for their work with farmers, micro enterprises and small enterprises that rely heavily on the rich natural resources in six Natura 2000 sites in the Balkan region. A coalition of Bulgarian organisations set up innovative schemes to pay these businesses directly for the environmental benefits they help maintain.  [more]

Applicants: WWF DCP Bulgaria, FOA Bioselena, Association of Parks in Bulgaria (APB), Bulgarian Society for Protection of Birds (BSPB), Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation (BBF)

The "Europe’s rarest waterbird benefits from a team effort in conservation" project won the Cross-border cooperation and Networking Award thanks to the implementation of a successful ‘flyway approach’ covering 15 countries and spanning the entire Eurasian migration path of the lesser white-fronted goose. Implemented by stakeholders from Greece, Finland, Bulgaria, Hungary and Norway, the project has played a key role in implementing a standardised monitoring programme and securing patrolling and habitat restoration work. [more]

Applicant: Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS) / Birdlife Greece

And this year, the coveted European Citizens’ Award was won by the Collaboration between public and private bodies saves the Iberian lynx from extinction.  With almost 6 000 votes, it really captured the public imagination. Stewardship agreements and voluntary contracts with 132 private owners, managers and hunting clubs in six Natura 2000 sites have reduced hunting pressure on rabbits and secured lynx-friendly land management across more than 95 000 hectares. This led to a major recovery of the lynx population (from 52 mature individuals in 2002 to 327 in 2014), enabling the IUCN to lower its threat category from ‘critically endangered’ to ‘endangered’. [more]

Applicant: Consejería de Medio Ambiente y Ordenacion del Territorio. Junta de Anadalucía