Funding Natura 2000
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.
Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe.