Natura 2000 designation
Designation of Special Protection Areas for birds (SPA) as a component of Natura 2000
The 1979 Birds Directive does not provide explicit criteria for the selection of Special Protection Areas (SPA), which from 1992 on also became part of Natura 2000. BirdLife International has developed a set of scientific criteria for the selection of Important Bird Areas (IBAs) of European Union importance that satisfy the requirements of the Birds Directive. Using these criteria, and the data and expertise from its huge network of scientists and volunteers, BirdLife has produced national inventories showing the IBAs of all EU Member States. All together BirdLife has identified 3,404 IBAs in the 27 Member States to date (2008).
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has in several of its rulings against Member States highlighted the exceptional value of BirdLife’s IBA inventories as the best scientific evidence available for the selection of SPAs. A list of relevant judgements of the ECJ can be accessed 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.