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martedì 3 novembre 2015

EU Natura 2000 Award 2016: Call opens for top conservation initiatives


The European Commission has launched the 2016 edition of the EU Natura 2000 Award. This annual award, now in its third year, honours leading nature conservation achievements in the management of the EU network of protected areas Natura 2000.
The Natura 2000 network is one of the EU’s outstanding achievements, recognising that people should live within, and not parallel to, natural ecosystems. It is also an extremely effective framework to connect the thousands of Europeans working and volunteering to conserve our precious natural heritage,” said EU Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella on the occasion of the launch. “For the past two years, the Natura 2000 Award has been highlighting top achievements to halt biodiversity loss. In 2016, we will once again recognise the best of the best and I encourage authorities, organisations, business and individuals involved in the Natura 2000 network to apply now for this prestigious award.”

In the first two years of the Natura 2000 Award over 250 applications were received, with 45 finalists and 11 proud winners. Previous winners have reported an enthusiastic response from the public and partners, which has further energised their work. The Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds/Birdlife Bulgaria (BSPB), winner in the Conservation category, said: “Winning the Natura 2000 Award in 2014 has helped create a positive public image of our organisation, especially among the local communities and municipalities. Significantly, it also really enhanced our relations with the state authorities and socially responsible businesses.”

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 7 October to 30 November 2015 and the Award comprises six categories: Conservation; Economic Benefits; Communication; Reconciling interests/perceptions and Cooperation and Networking and European Citizens’ Award. Introduced for the first time in 2015, the Citizens’ Award received an enthusiastic response from the public with 25 000 votes being cast.

Following the application deadline on 1 December 2015, the submissions will be assessed and a shortlist of finalists will be drawn up in March. The winners will be announced at a high-level ceremony in Brussels in May 2016.


Natura 2000 is the centrepiece of EU’s nature and biodiversity policy. Established under the EU’s Birds Directive and Habitats Directive, it is an EU-wide network of over 27 000 terrestrial and marine sites, covering around 20 % of land area and substantial parts of the surrounding seas.

The aim of the network is to assure the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species. Functioning ecosystems protected by Natura 2000 benefit human health, society and the economy.

In addition to providing an array of environmental advantages, Natura 2000 serves essential – and sometimes unnoticed – social and economic functions. Around 4.4 million jobs directly depend on healthy ecosystems, a significant proportion of which are situated within Natura 2000 sites. In addition, the financial benefits that flow from the network itself are estimated to be in the region range of €200 to €300 billion per year.
 



For further information about the EU Natura 2000 Award 2016, please contact:

info@natura2000award-application.eu
 

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