Today, on European Natura 2000 day, the European Commission launches the fifth edition of the European Natura 2000 Award. The Award honours outstanding nature conservation achievements connected to the EU Natura 2000 Network of protected areas.
Karmenu Vella, EU Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs said: “As the recent IPBES report made clear, biodiversity loss continues at an unprecedented rate, undermining nature’s ability to sustain life on Earth. Nature protected areas such as EU’s Natura 2000 network play an essential role in halting biodiversity loss in the EU. It’s a fact – through targeted conservation efforts and implementation of EU nature directives, species and habitats can recover. I encourage everyone proud of their Natura 2000 achievement to apply. Protecting the planet is a joint effort but we still want to celebrate your individual excellence.”
About the Natura 2000 Award 2020
The Award is open to any organisation or person involved in Natura 2000, including public and local authorities, businesses, NGOs, land owners, educational institutions and individuals. The application period runs from today until 30 September. The Award Ceremony will take place around 21 May 2020, next year’s Natura 2000 Day. The Award is given out in six categories: Conservation; Socio-Economic Benefits; Communication; Reconciling Interests/Perceptions and Cross-Border Cooperation and Networking as well as a European Citizens’ Award. Introduced for the first time in 2015, the Citizens’ Award provides the general public with an opportunity to vote for their favourite project. So far over 100 000 votes were cast between 2015 and 2018.
In the previous four editions, the Natura 2000 Award received 419 applications and it nominated 94 finalists and 23 proud winners.
According to a previous winner, NGO Callisto from Greece, winner of the 2018 Reconciling Interests Award, the award brought a significant increase in attention from local and national media and corresponding interest from the public and decision makers. This has led to increased fundraising opportunities and has had positive effects on helping to achieve the organisations’ nature objectives.
A representative of Callisto said: “Promoting the fact that we won the award also allowed us to bring additional attention to the impact and replication potential of our actions and activities supporting peaceful coexistence between humans and wildlife in Natura 2000 areas.”
About Natura 2000
Natura 2000 is the European Union network of protected areas. It consists of an enormous variety of different sites across the continent, aiming to assure the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species, safeguarding them for future generations. It provides a wide range of products and services beneficial to society and the economy.
The Natura 2000 network is founded on two pioneering pieces of EU legislation - the 1979 Birds Directive and the 1992 Habitats Directive – and plays an essential role in halting biodiversity loss in the EU. Today the network, one of the EU’s outstanding achievements, consists of over 27 500 terrestrial and marine sites, covering around 18.6 % of Europe’s land and over 9.5 % of the surrounding seas, across nine biogeographic regions.
For further information about the EU Natura 2000 Award, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
21 May 2019