After confirming that the EU Nature Directives are “fit for purpose”, the EU Commission has adopted and published an ‘Action Plan for nature, people and the economy’.
Recently, the European Commission carried out a ‘fitness check’ of the Birds and Habitats Directives to assess if they are still fit for purpose. The positive result of the evaluation was published last year.
It was concluded that the Directives play an important role in nature conservation and bring many benefits to EU citizens and the economy. However, it was stressed that the implementation of these Directives need be improved and, to this end, the Commission now has delivered an Action Plan
The Action Plan has 4 priority areas, with 15 concrete actions. One action seeks the completion of the Natura 2000 network. Today ca. 17% of EU’s terrestrial area is included the Natura 2000 network but only ca. 6% at sea. Many more Natura 2000 marine sites need be designated. EAA and EFTTA follow closely this development, in particular the conservation measures to be put in place as they are not always well thought through.
More investments in Natura 2000 are needed. Therefore, the Action Plan promotes synergies by the use of various EU funding instruments, including the cohesion policy funding, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). The Commission will establish cross-cutting Natura 2000 indicators for all EU funds for the next programming period.
Finally, in order to improve the application of EU legislation on the ground, the Commission will release new and updated guidance documents, and increase its effort to promote their dissemination. In this respect, new guidance documents on hydropower and Natura 2000 and on Natura 2000 and fisheries under the CFP should be published respectively in 2017 and 2018.