Europe and Central Asia
16 Jun 2014

Natura 2000 Day: the EU not protecting its richest nature sites properly

Photo by Amanda Rogers
By Communications

May 21st 2014 marked the second Natura 2000 day, which celebrated Europe’s largest network of nature areas protected by EU law. This event is a good opportunity to recall that these sites, home to rich and unique wildlife are still threatened by habitat deterioration and destruction as a consequence of the lack of EU law enforcement.

The Natura 2000 network is composed of more than 26,000 remarkable sites, representing a total area of almost one million square kilometers, including renowned stunning sites such as the Danube delta and the Bialowieza forest. The network provides a wide range of important benefits to society and the economy, valued at €200-300 billion/year.

Yet, many Natura 2000 sites are threatened by pollution, the spread of invasive alien species or lack of management measures. Certain sites are also being entirely destroyed by harmful developments such as the urban sprawl or transport and energy infrastructures constructed without taking the environment into account.

“The threats to Natura 2000 sites could be addressed by a proper implementation of the EU Nature legislation, which requires the EU Member States to put sufficient resources in the protection, restoration and management of these sites” commented Wouter Langhout, EU Nature Policy Officer at BirdLife Europe.

The Natura 2000 day, is an initiative of SEO/BirdLife (BirdLife in Spain) within the LIFE+ project 'Conéctate a la Red Natura - Natura 2000: connecting people with biodiversity', aimed at promoting Europe’s natural heritage and at raising awareness on the importance of preserving the Natura 2000 sites.

To this end, the BirdLife Partnership has invited all EU citizens to demonstrate their support to the Natura 2000 network and to nature conservation in general by uploading a photo of themselves on the Natura 2000 Day website. The campaign was launched at the end of April and is still ongoing.

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For more information, please visit the Natura 2000 day website:
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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.