Funding Natura 2000

    The Natura 2000 network is the cornerstone of EU biodiversity policy. However, like other protected areas, the Natura 2000 network needs funding in order to achieve its goals. Given that biodiversity is unequally distributed throughout the EU, the Habitats Directive foresees a role for the EU in co-financing the implementation of conservation measures, to ensure that sufficient funding is available across the EU.

    With only a small part of the EU budget, we can make the Natura 2000 network deliver on its objectives. The investments needed for good management of the Natura 2000 network are estimated to be less than 6 billion EUR annually for the whole EU. At least 50% of the investments should come from the EU budget, so around 2-4% of the EU budget.

    Current funding levels are deeply inadequate. A study by the IEEP and others has estimated that only around 9–19% of the funds needed for managing the Natura 2000 network were available in the period 2007–2013. The LIFE fund is very important for conservation action in Natura 2000, but it is too small to cover the management of the entire network.

    Investments in nature conservation are value for money. Investing now in safeguarding and restoring functioning ecosystems and biodiversity provides high returns. The total value of contribution of the Natura 2000 network to the EU economy is estimated to be around 200–300 billion EUR, which means that the Natura 2000 network generates economic benefits around seven times higher than its total cost. In addition, Natura 2000 has the potential to create employment even if this is not its primary aim. Investing 1 billion EUR in the Natura 2000 network can create five to nine times more jobs than investing in the current agriculture subsidies (29 000 jobs compared to 3 000–6 000 jobs). Investment in the Natura 2000 network would also lead to diverse types of employment, including increasing jobs in the agricultural sector.

    It is clear that the 2014-2020 EU budget, also for Natura 2000, has not seen the profound transformation that was called for. Read more about that here.
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    Natura 2000

    Natura 2000 is the centrepiece of EU nature & biodiversity policy. It is an EUwide network of nature protection areas established under the 1992 Habitats Directive. The aim of the network is to assure the long-term survival of Europe's most valuable and threatened species and habitats. More details.

    BirdLife Assessment of progress of the EU 2020 Strategy

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