Natura 2000 Biogeographical Process
Technical and scientific support in relation to the Natura 2000 Seminars Process
By the end of 2009, the Natura 2000 network covered 17.6% of the EU-27 terrestrial area with around 26,000 sites classified as SPA under the Birds Directive and/or Site of Community Importance/SAC under the Habitats Directive, covering a terrestrial area of 754,710 km2 and the marine area of 167,561 km2(1). Indeed, this probably represents the most impressive achievement in relation to the European Community's 2006 Biodiversity Communication(2) which provided a detailed strategic response to accelerate progress towards the 2010 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) targets at Community and Member State level.
However, it is also clear from the above figures that much needs to be done in order to increase the percentage of sites in so-called Favourable Conservation Status (FCS). The solution to the problem of the sites that are in unfavourable-inadequate and unfavourable-bad (and unknown) condition is not only a question of the techniques of nature conservation management or restoration; it is likely to be found in the interaction of a number of environmental, social and economic factors.
The European Commission has therefore initiated a programme of new Natura 2000 seminars, based on biogeographic regions and involving ministries, experts, NGOs and other representatives from the relevant member states, whose aim is to provide an interactive forum, supported by technical and stakeholder generated documentation, in which region specific solutions can be found to the problems of delivering sustainable site management now and in the future. The process of stakeholder engagement is intended to provide real-time identification and assessment of the key management issues in relation to Natura 2000 sites and to deliver ownership for the solutions, where necessary across boundaries.
1) European Environment Agency (2010) EU 2010 biodiversity baseline. EEA Technical Report No. 12/2010
2) EC (2006) COM/2006/0216 final: Communication from the Commission - Halting the loss of biodiversity by 2010 - and beyond - Sustaining ecosystem services for human well-being
The overall objective of this contract is to provide technical and scientific support to the Commission in relation to the implementation of the new Natura 2000 seminars process, including the logistic preparation of the Natura 2000 seminars and the preparatory workshops. This includes the preparation of invitations, agendas, working documents, reports and guidance documents. With a view to achieving the expected output of the Natura 2000 seminars, the technical and scientific support will aim at achieving the following objectives:
- Preparatory workshops, Natura 2000 seminars, ad hoc expert meetings and preparatory meetings between the main actors of the process are well prepared and organised.
- Appropriate technical and scientific information on the conservation status of species and habitat types covered by the seminars, the major threats acting on these species and habitats, existing management instruments and measures for addressing threats and achieving favourable conservation status, including best practice is compiled and made available in advance of the workshops and seminars. Major sources for such information are the European Environment Agency (EEA), the European Topic Centre for Biological Diversity (ETC/BD), the Member States, expert networks, NGOs and stakeholder organisations and Natura 2000 Management Plans.
- The appropriateness of existing conservation objectives and measures for species and habitat types covered by the seminars is being assessed.
- Appropriate recommendations are prepared on the adaptation of conservation objectives and measures to changing conditions; including climate change, where necessary.
- High quality working documents are prepared and made available in advance of the workshops and seminars.
- High quality seminar reports and guidance documents, interpretation notes or reviews on particular issues are prepared and made available.
- A permanent internet-based platform of the Natura 2000 Seminars is established, promoted and maintained: the Natura 2000 Platform.
- Ad hoc expert meetings are organised on particular issues if necessary.
All of the key documentation for the project can be found at the European Commission CIRCA website https://circa.europa.eu. An introduction to the Biogeographic Process can be found on the right.
This is a three-year project, which will end in December 2014.
- Arcadis, Belgium
- Aspen International, UK
- Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, UK
- Institute of Landscape Ecology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovakia
European Commission, DG environment. Tender reference: ENV.B.3./SER/2011/0021