Europe and Central Asia
18 May 2016

More than 11,000 ‘Nature Alert’ citizens call on EU to improve nature laws implementation

The European Commission needs to be proactive and declare the results of the 'fitness check' of the Nature Directives.
By Ariel Brunner

The time for waiting is over, people throughout Europe are ‘Nature Alert’ and are calling for action to protect and better implement the EU’s nature laws.

On Monday more than 11,700 people sent a clear message to European Commissioner for the Environment Karmenu Vella and Vice-President Frans Timmermans, calling on the Commission to better implement the EU’s nature laws and publish the outcome of the “fitness check” of these laws. The call came in the form 24 separate Member State Thunderclap actions on Facebook and Twitter.

On 21 May (Natura 2000 Day) and throughout this month as part of the EU’s Green Week, we will be a celebrating the protection of endangered habitats. During these celebrations, which will include numerous activities throughout Europe (including at Natura 2000 sites), people will again be calling on the Commission to get on with it and publish the fitness check. They will be taking photos and sending them with messages to the commissioners in the build-up to the Dutch Presidency conference in Amsterdam at the end of June on the nature policy of the EU.

Today, as part of the Nature Alert campaign and to mark Natura 2000 Day, WWF has launched a pan-European Turn up the Volume of Nature campaign to make some noise for nature by targeting environment ministers. Until the end of June, in 16 European countries, people can create their own nature songs on the campaign’s website using the sounds of various natural elements and key European species. Then through the website they can send these songs, along with a message to protect the EU’s nature laws, to their national environment ministers and the European Commission. You can help turn up the volume of nature and direct it back at our politicians here.

This serves to reiterate that the coming weeks, until 30 June, are critical for the EU’s Nature Directives – the cornerstone of legislation to protect the continent’s wildlife. Since the resounding support of the European Parliament vote in February, the European Council decision in December, and the half a million people who responded to the Commission’s public consultation last year, the Commission and their consultants have been busy drafting the fitness check. This is expected in the coming weeks, well in advance of the conference in Amsterdam in June.

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That needs to be followed by a proposal to fully implement and adequately fund the Nature Directives so they can do effectively what they were set up for: protect the EU’s wildlife.

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. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.