Action to protect sites and species across the EU
It is a big strength of the BirdLife Partnership that with its local groups BirdLife is present in almost “every corner of Europe” and can quickly detect and assess possible threats to habitats, sites and species. All BirdLife Partner organisations then stand together and support each other to protect our common natural heritage.
National BirdLife Partners and the BirdLife Secretariat regularly take action when particular Important Bird Areas/Natura 2000 sites or species are under serious threat. For example, when governments do not designate sufficient protected areas, when invaluable habitats are in danger of being destroyed by infrastructure development or when authorities allow birds to be hunted during their spring migration.
Very often such campaigns take place at national levels, led by BirdLife Partners, but in cases where we see EU legislation, like the Birds and Habitats Directives, breached by governments BirdLife complains formally to the European Commission and starts international action.
These campaigns aim to protect nature by convincing key stakeholders (such as national governments and parliamentarians, land managers, developers, local communities and the European Institutions) to find win-win solutions, reconciling various interests without irreversibly harming to our natural environment.
In this work BirdLife uses a wide range of tools :
- scientific and technical (e.g. participation in official consultations, providing data and studies on likely impacts of developments and alternative solutions);
- legal (e.g. national court appeals, submission of complaints to the European Commission);
- political (e.g. work with Members of national and European Parliaments, submission of petitions to the European Parliament); and
- communication (e.g. work with media, on-line petitions).
For its work at EU level, the overall aim is to ensure that the site and species protection obligations of the Birds and Habitats Directives are respected. BirdLife believes that cooperation is the best solution and therefore works with developers and decision-makers to find solutions. But where legislation is ignored, or not properly enforced, BirdLife raises its voice and takes steps to prevent damaging activities. Information about some current high-profile cases is available below.
As well as working on individual campaigns, the European Division of BirdLife, supported by the RSPB/BirdLife UK and others also provides strategic support to our Partners – such as training and guidance on how to plan campaigns, how to prepare legal complaints or use the media. The European Division also facilitates the exchange of information about cases between BirdLife Partners and all interested stakeholders across Europe.