In April this year The European Commission has published its Communication with the EU Action Plan for nature, people and the economy. The Action Plan comes as a follow up to the comprehensive evaluation of the Nature Directives the Commission has launched in the form of a ‘Fitness Check’ in 2014, describing “This Fitness Check has found that, as part of broader EU biodiversity policy, the Nature Directives are fit for purpose but that achieving their objectives and realising their full potential will depend upon substantially improving their implementation”. The EU Action Plan should improve the practical implementation of Nature Directives and help us move closer to stopping the loss of biodiversity and achieving the targets of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020.

Already following up on one of the Actions (13) from the Action Plan, on 6 June 2017 the European Commission, in cooperation with the Committee of Regions, has held a conference to officially present the Action Plan to relevant authorities and stakeholders. The Conference was well attended by representatives of all sectors, including a representative from Eurosite. These representatives have been identified as important partners in implementing the different actions, and the Action Plan was positively received by all.

Details of all individual actions were published in the form of Factsheets. These are now also available in all official languages of the EU.

As the network of practitioners managing the European protected sites on a daily basis, Eurosite will do everything in its power to be a valuable partner to the European Commission in implementing this Action Plan.

The main message of the Conference was nicely summarised by the First Vice-President of the European Commission, Mr. Frans Timmermans. He stated that The biggest challenge of our generation, and the next, is to decrease the burden we put on Mother Earth, or Mother Earth will not be able to sustain us. We need to create a balance between protecting our natural environment and, at the same time, maintaining a good standard of living and a highly-sophisticated society. This is an exciting challenge we are facing, and it is not technological, not even financial, it is an organisational challenge of getting everybody working in the same direction.

More information about the conference, including a video recording, can be found here.