On 21-22 November Eurosite attended the second annual meeting of the European Habitats Forum (EHF) – an assembly of European environmental civil society organizations following closely the development and implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. It offered a good opportunity to present Eurosite’s main activities and events for 2017.

As always, the second day was reserved for the meeting with the representatives of the European Commission DG Environment. The meeting was attended by the heads of unit for Biodiversity and Nature Protection, Stefan Leiner and Nicola Notaro, as well as several desk officers. It was a great opportunity to discuss some issues and priorities in the implementation of Natura 2000 and other actions of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020.

Eurosite mediates between its members and the Commission about issues concerning the EU Biodiversity Strategy. Members are continuously encouraged to pose their questions, concerns or any other business related to the Strategy, or more specifically about the management of Natura 2000 sites, so that it can be included it in the EHF meeting agenda. Contact Kristijan Čivić if you would like to submit anything for the next EHF meeting, which takes place twice a year.

The topics of this latest meeting included:

  1. Fitness Check of Nature Directives
    Technical work by the Commission is finished; a political decision now needs to be made by the college of Commissioners. Next possible opportunity for such discussion is 30 November.
  2. EU Roadmap for enhanced implementation of the EU Biodiversity strategy to 2020
    The Coordination Group for Biodiversity and Nature (CGBN) has prepared a roadmap for enhanced implementation of the EU biodiversity strategy. This roadmap has now been officially endorsed at the Nature Directors’ meeting with several suggestions for improvement from NGOs accepted. As foreseen by the roadmap, there will be more coordination and cooperation between agriculture and nature DGs.  However, there will be no major changes in agricultural policy (CAP) before 2020.
  3. EU Pollinators Strategy
    The EU Pollinators Strategy is in the internal validation procedure within the EC and it is expected to be adopted by the end of 2017. However, it is not likely that it will bring any new political tools, but it will rather focus on the need for more knowledge, data and awareness raising.
  4. Invasive Alien Species (IAS)
    Following the adoption of the EU Regulation on Invasive Alien Species in January 2015 a lot of work is ongoing both by the EU Working Group on IAS, as well as three external contracts. The EU IAS website is being kept up-to-date and contains all relevant information.  The ongoing work is focusing on the management of pathways, surveillance and management of widely spread species, and development of risk assessment methodology.
  5. Green Infrastructures (GI)
    The European Commission is focusing on the development of Trans European Network for GI in Europe (TEN-G) and its integration across various policies. Urban environment is seen as having a key role in deployment of GI and the links with the EU urban policy have already been made. More information is available at the EU GI website, and the work is being done to make even more information easily accessible on Biodiversity Information System for Europe (BISE).