The European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius has announced the six winners of the Natura 2000 Awards for 2020 on the 15th of October - including projects from Finland, France, Belgium, Spain, Bulgaria and a trans-boundary project involving partners in Romania, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ukraine.
The Natura 2000 Awards recognise conservation success stories across the EU and raise awareness about one of Europe’s outstanding achievements – the Natura 2000 network of protected areas.
Commissioner Sinkevičius said: “The COVID pandemic has brought to light the link between healthy, resilient societies and keeping our natural environment in good condition. This year’s winners demonstrate that investing time, energy and resources into nature protection brings big rewards for nature but also for us. They show how conservationists, farmers, foresters, local communities, infrastructure companies and authorities can work together to deliver tangible results for nature and people. These are the models of cooperation and solutions that need to be scaled up if we are to deliver on the commitments of the EU Biodiversity Strategy.”
“Joint Efforts for Safe and Wildlife-friendly Transportation Networks in the Carpathians,” otherwise known as TRANSGREEN, thankfully submitted by the Nature Conservation Agency in the Czech Republic, won the Cross-border cooperation and Networking Award. The project was led by WWF Central and Eastern Europe (WWF-CEE), with very committed partners in Romania, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Ukraine. Joint methodologies were developed for monitoring collisions and road-kills, and four in-depth analyses and Catalogues of Measures have been produced for the four pilot areas. The final outcome is a comprehensive package of materials - called Guidelines for Wildlife and Traffic in the Carpathians – which describes and recommends integrated transport infrastructure planning, construction, management and monitoring that take into account biodiversity conservation and minimise landscape fragmentation. These guidelines will be pushed forward as unified guidelines or policies in all involved Carpathian countries as part of the implementation of the Carpathian Convention. Mr. Jan Plesnik, Adviser to the Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic and well-known in international biodiversity circles including the Convention on Biological Diversity, received the award in the name of the entire project consortium.
The award encourages Project Partners who work on the follow-up and complementary project SaveGREEN that builds on results and established networks generated during the implementation of TRANSGREEN, to continue in the same participatory and inclusive way for the current project implementation!
The winners in the other four categories are…
- The Conservation Award went to “Using Underwater Inventories for the Conservation of Marine Areas in Finland” led by the Ministry of the Environment and the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE).
- The French project “Eau la la!!! Eco-tips for Sea and Shore" implemented by Lannion-Trégor Communauté, Guingamp-Paimpol Agglomération and PETR du Pays de Guingamp won the Communication Award.
- The Socio-economic Benefits Award which recognises projects that demonstrate that nature conservation and economic development can go hand-in-hand went to “Pro-Biodiversidad: Shepherds as Biodiversity Conservators in Natura 2000" in Spain.
- The Reconciling Interests/Perceptions Award went to the project “Ten keys to co-ownership for nature projects”, implemented in Belgium by the Agentschap voor Natuur en Bos, De Vlaamse Waterweg, Gemeente Kruibeke and vzw Kruibeeks Natuurbehoud.
The special European Citizens’ Award went to the “Partnership for Protection of Bulgarian Old-growth Forests in Natura 2000” project, led by the Executive Forest Agency (EFA), the Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, WWF-Bulgaria, the Association of Parks in Bulgaria and the Balkan Wildlife Society.