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2016 Natura 2000 Award Jury

A high level Jury was appointed to select the five Natura 2000 Award category winners.

Biographies of the 2016 Jury members are presented below.

Daniel Calleja Crespo

Mr Calleja has been Director General of DG Environment since 1 September 2015.

Previously, Mr Calleja was Director General of DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, and Director General of DG Enterprise and Industry, Special Envoy for SMEs. Before that, Mr Calleja was Deputy Director General of DG Enterprise and Industry.

Mr Calleja’s previous positions include six years as Director for Air Transport at the European Commission, in charge of the single European aviation market and its external dimension. He was also the Chairman of the Air Safety and the Single Sky Committees and Chairman of the Board of the SESAR Joint Undertaking.

From 1999 to 2004, he held the position of Head of Cabinet of the Vice-President of the European Commission, Mrs. Loyola de Palacio, and from 1995 to 1999 he was Head of Cabinet of Commissioner Marcelino Oreja. As the legal adviser in the Cabinet of the President of the European Commission, he was responsible for Transport, Competition, State Aids and he advised the Transport Commissioner.

Mr Calleja has a degree in Law and in Business Administration from the University of Comillas, Madrid.


Mark Demesmaeker

Mr Demesmaeker is rapporteur for the European Parliament's resolution on the mid-term review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2020. He is also the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) shadow rapporteur for circular economy and the ECR Vice-President on the EMIS inquiry committee.

Since 2013, Mr Demesmaeker has held numerous offices in the EU institutions, including being Member of the European Parliament, Member of Committee on Foreign Affairs, ECR Coordinator on Subcommittee on Human Rights, Member of Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee, Member of Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, Substitute member of the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, and Substitute member of the Delegation for relations with Australia and New Zealand.

Mr Demesmaeker was a member of the Flemish Parliament from 2004-2013. Between 2005-2007, he was Secretary General of the New Flemish Alliance Party (N-VA) and from 2007 - 2012, he was Alderman in Halle, becoming a local Councillor in 2013.

Previously, he has worked as both a teacher and a journalist.


Roby Biwer

Mr Biwer is the rapporteur of the Committee of the Regions' (CoR) opinion on the fitness-check of the Nature Directives.

Since 2000, he has been president of a politically-based inter-municipality group of 21 municipalities (SICONA, which is engaged in synergies to protect and improve natural habitats and biodiversity as well as helping national government in implementing the Nature Directives (the Birds and the Habitats Directives).

Mr Biwer has also been member of board of a local section of "natur&ëmwelt" (nature and environment), the largest association for protection of biodiversity and environment in Luxembourg, since 1981. Since 2014, he has been the "natur&ëmwelt" national president.

Previously, in 1994 he started a political engagement as member of the Municipality Council of Bettembourg and was elected Mayor of the Municipality of Bettembourg from 2004 to 2011.


Jeremy Wates

Mr Wates is the Secretary General of the European Environmental Bureau, Europe’s largest federation of environmental organisations.

Prior to taking up his present post, in May 2011, he worked for more than a decade as Secretary to the Aarhus Convention with the Geneva-based United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. During the 1990s, he led the NGO campaign to persuade governments to start work on a treaty on environmental democracy and then coordinated the input from civil society organisations into the Aarhus negotiations. In the 1980s, Mr Wates founded the Irish environmental organisation Earthwatch and led the organisation for more than a decade, combining his environmental activism with small-scale organic farming at his home in West Cork in the south-west of Ireland.

He holds an MA Honours Degree in Philosophy and Social & Political Sciences from Cambridge University, UK.


Jurgen Tack

Mr Tack is Scientific Director of the European Landowners Organisation (ELO), and CEO at Landelijk Vlaanderen (Flemish Landowners’ Organisation). He has also been the CEO of the Science Foundation Flanders since 2015.

Mr Tack was a member of the European Commission’s Expert Group on Nature Based Solutions in 2014 and 2015. In the same period, he was chairman of the Board of Directors of the Botanical Garden Meise. Mr Tack was also President of the International Riverine Commission River Maas/Meuse (a multilateral treaty organisation) from 2013 to 2015, and CEO of the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (a research organisation under the umbrella of the Flemish Authority) in 2007.

Previous to that, he was responsible for European and international science policy in the field of biodiversity and biodiversity related research at the Belgian Biodiversity Platform (Belgian Science Policy Office).

Jurgen Tack studied biology (marine ecology) at Brussels Free University where he also obtained his PhD in Sciences.