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Towards a shared ecological rationale for more integrated implementation of the Nature and Water Directives

Date: 15 - 17 November 2017
Location: Fertő-Hanság National Park, Sarród, Hungary
Biogeographical Regions: All
Organizers: CEEweb for biodiversity, Fertő-Hanság National Park
Contact person: Monika Kotulak, CEEweb for biodiversity,


Towards a shared ecological rationale for more integrated implementation of the Nature and Water Directives

Discussions of how to better integrate decision-making and action under the nature (Habitats and Birds) and water (Water Framework and Floods) Directives now have a considerable history, at both European-level and within individual Member States. Importantly, these exchanges have stressed the value of ‘working with nature’ to maximise synergies between the Directives. European-level discussions led to the development of a Frequently Asked Questions document (European Commission, 2011), seeking to help Member States address the interface between the Directives. This has been useful in many respects, particularly in relation to characterising legal differences.

The need for further work on rationalising approaches to the nature and water Directives has been highlighted as a priority in workshops held in a number of biogeographic regions. Interactions between the Directives extend beyond the geographical boundaries of the Natura series and into the wider environment, through the concept of ‘favourable conservation status’ and the need to manage catchments in ways that allow the objectives of water-related Natura sites to be met.

Rationale and purpose:
This event will provide a platform for a technical specialist discussion about better integration of decision-making processes and actions under the Birds and Habitats Directives and Water Framework Directive in the European Member states.

The purpose of the meeting is to bring together the specialists to share their experiences on the ecological and technical consistency of implementing the Nature Directives, to share approaches for integrated decision-making by using case studies. Participants will work on principles for ecologically-based decision-making under BHD and WFD. Key principles of the integration relate to:

  1. the use of natural ecosystem function as a spatial planning template for freshwater, wetland and wider biodiversity conservation, providing a common language between biodiversity and water decision-making;
  2. explicit consideration of ecological relationships between Natura 2000 habitats and species features and with natural ecosystem function, to allow integrated decision-making that recognises and protects the needs of Natura 2000 features;
  3. differentiation of decision-making between Natura 2000 sites and the wider environment, based on the level of precaution and restoration ambition and the treatment of socio-economic practicalities.

An additional  objective is to initiate a cross-regional freshwater specialist network focused on information exchange on ecological elements of decision-making associated with Natura objectives and wider favourable conservation status of Habitats Directive habitats and species.

Target audience: 
The subject matter is relevant to all biogeographic regions. A focus on broad principles rather than specific habitat types and species, using different habitats and species as illustrations, will help ​ ​to​ ​maximise ​ ​the ​ ​relevance ​ ​of ​ ​the ​ ​workshop ​ ​to​ ​all ​ ​attendees.

Specialists attending should have a sound ecological understanding of the Nature Directives and the Water Framework Directive and its implementation. There is also a need for delegates who are experienced in implementing practical measures under the nature and water directives, in order ​ ​to​ ​ensure ​ ​that ​ ​discussions ​ ​are ​ ​grounded ​ ​in ​ ​practical ​ ​realities.

Because of limited capacities we can only invite about 30 participants. Please, pre-register under this link: ​​ód  

Confirmation of participation will be sent in the beginning of November. 

If you would like to present a case study from your country and/or have any questions regarding the event please email Monika Kotulak at 

This event is made possible with funding from the Natura 2000 Biogeographical Seminar Process.

For more information about the event, please visit this website