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2020 Winners

Given the unique circumstances in 2020, the six winners of the 2020 Natura 2000 Awards were announced at an exclusive hybrid Ceremony, on 14 October 2020. The six winners include activities on Natura 2000 sites in Finland, France, Belgium, Spain, Bulgaria and a trans-boundary project involving sites in Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania.

And the winners are…

The Conservation Award goes to “Using underwater inventories for the conservation of marine areas in Finland” for collecting over 150,000 spatially explicit observations of marine habitats and species across Finland sea area with the VELMU Programme. Thanks to advanced data analysis, the project was able to produce spatial distribution models for functionally important, rare, and threatened species. This valuable information has been used to develop the marine Natura 2000 area network, for reporting under the EU Habitats Directive and to describe over 200 Ecologically Significant Marine Areas (EMMAs). [more]

  • Applicants: Ministry of the Environment, Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE).
  • Marine Natura 2000 sites in Finland.

Eau la la!!! Eco-tips for sea and shore!” in France won the Communication Award for launching a campaign aimed at boaters, managers of port infrastructures, tourists and recreational anglers to raise awareness on good boating practices and the possible environmental consequences of their activities. The campaign has proven very effective, as post campaign surveys showed 85% of the boaters involved were keen to improve their practices. [more]

  • Applicants: Lannion-Trégor Communauté, Guingamp-Paimpol Agglomération, PETR du Pays de Guingamp.
  • Natura 2000 sites: Côte de Granit rose-Sept-Iles, Trégor-Goëlo and Rivière Léguer, forêts de Beffou, Coat an Noz et Coat an Hay, France.

The Reconciling interests/perceptions Award went to “Ten keys to co-ownership for nature projects”, implemented in Belgium, for creating enthusiasm and acceptance for a project involving the expropriation of flood-prone land that was initially highly criticised by the local population and the municipality. The LIFE+ Scalluvia project used the opportunity to turn the land in the Kruibeke Polders into nature reserves accessible to the local population thus also improving the area’s recreational values. Intense communication and participation efforts proved successful and the area is now regarded as a tourist asset, providing additional income and jobs. [more]

  • Applicants: Agentschap voor Natuur en Bos, De Vlaamse Waterweg, Gemeente Kruibeke, vzw Kruibeeks Natuurbehoud.
  • Natura 2000 sites: Schelde- en Durmeëstuarium van de Nederlandse grens tot Gent and Durme en Middenloop van de Schelde, Belgium.

Pro-Biodiversidad: shepherds as biodiversity conservators in Natura 2000”, Spain won the Socio-economic benefits Award  for the creation of  a special certification brand, Pro-Biodiversidad (Pro-Biodiversity), to support the extensive sheep sector, halt rural abandonment and improve conditions for biodiversity (in particular for scavengers). The brand, launched in 2015, has met great success with four important commercial agreements signed since 2017. The involved farmers witnessed a 45% increase in their revenue compared with their 2015 situation. [more]

  • Applicant: Fundación para la Conservación del Quebrantahuesos.
  • Natura 2000 sites: Picos de Europa (Asturias), Picos de Europa and Liébana (SCI and SPA), Spain.

The project “Joint efforts for safe and wildlife-friendly transportation networks in the Carpathians” with partners in Romania, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic,  Slovakia, and Ukraine, won the Cross-border cooperation and Networking Award for its interdisciplinary cooperation addressing landscape fragmentation in the Carpathian Mountains. The partnership developed common methodologies for monitoring wildlife-related traffic collisions and road-kills, created safer road and rail transport solutions for wildlife and produced “Guidelines for Wildlife and Traffic in the Carpathians”. [more]

  • Applicant: Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic.
  • Multiple Natura 2000 sites in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania.

This year, the European Citizens’ Award was won by the project “Partnership for protection of Bulgarian old-growth forests in Natura 2000”. The project helped to  reconcile conflicting interests over the designation of forest-related Natura 2000 sites. The partners carried out extensive surveys and GIS mapping to draw up an inventory of old growth forests in state-owned forests habitats. The final list of sites was agreed among interested stakeholders during a long process of exchanges and consultations. The process resulted in an additional 109 300 ha of old-growth forests being designated for protection and excluded from harvesting. [more]

  • Applicants: Executive Forest Agency (EFA), Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, Bulgaria, WWF Bulgaria, Association of Parks in Bulgaria, Balkani Wildlife Society.
  • Multiple Natura 2000 sites across Bulgaria.

Commissioner Sinkevičius with five of the 2020 winners, and Jury members Florika Fink-Hooijer - Director General of DG Environment, Roby Biwer - Committee of the Regions, Jurgen Tack - European Users Forum, Anna Heslop (standing in for Agata Szafraniuk - European Habitats Forum) and César Luena MEP (standing in for Pascal Canfin MEP)
Commissioner Sinkevičius with five of the 2020 winners, and Jury members Florika Fink-Hooijer - Director General of DG Environment, Roby Biwer - Committee of the Regions, Jurgen Tack - European Users Forum, Anna Heslop (standing in for Agata Szafraniuk - European Habitats Forum) and César Luena MEP (standing in for Pascal Canfin MEP)