Natura 2000 is a worldwide unique network of protected areas that aims to protect particularly valuable and endangered habitats, plants and animals in Europe on a sustainable basis. It is intended to help achieve the goals of international biodiversity and the Bern Convention. The Natura 2000 network includes both the flora-fauna-habitat (FFH) areas designated by the member states under the Habitats Directive for the listed species and habitat types, as well as the European bird protection areas of the Birds Directive.
However, the implementation of Natura 2000 and the protection of biodiversity and nature in general in Germany and the EU are facing ongoing challenges. This was only recently confirmed by reporting under Article 17 of the Habitats Directive: Accordingly, in Germany, for example, 33 percent (EU-28: 19 percent) of the assessed species and 37 percent (EU-28: 33 percent) of habitats are in poor condition. The Federal Environment Ministry and the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) therefore held an international specialist conference in mid-2021. The status and challenges in the implementation of Natura 2000 were discussed with relevant representatives from authorities, science, practice, various sectors and stakeholders. This exchange of experience intended in particular to enable a comparative view of neighbouring member states in order to promote knowledge transfer.
adelphi helped with the conception, organisation and implementation of the specialist conference on behalf of the BfN. In addition, adelphi revised the brochure “Natura 2000 in Germany – Precious Jewels of Nature” as part of this project. The effective implementation of the requirements of the EU nature directives requires strong communication about Natura 2000 and the associated nature conservation policy goals in addition to a professional exchange. In 2019, the Eurobarometer survey “Attitudes of Europeans towards Biodiversity” showed that 80 percent of those questioned consider the decline and possible extinction of animal and plant species, natural habitats and ecosystems in Europe to be a problem. However, the same survey also showed how poor the knowledge about Natura 2000 is: Thirty percent of those surveyed had heard of Natura 2000, but only 11 percent knew what it was. The updated brochure aimed to fill this information gap.