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Protected areas and biodiversity

Local and regional authorities have a major role to play in the designation and management of protected areas. In some cases they are the main coordinators of management, in others they play a key role in multistakeholder partnerships.

Natura 2000 is the main biodiversity protection delivery mechanism in the EU, based on the Birds and Habitats Directives. Guidance and cases of best practice for the implementation of the Natura 2000 network at regional and local levels can be obtained from this website.

Currently, stakeholders, including local and regional authorities through the EU are involved in the development and implementation of management plans for Natura 2000 sites. An initiative launched by the European Commission aims to support Member States and stakeholders to share their experiences in the development of the management plans.

The European Commission launched a new Award designed to celebrate and promote best practices for nature conservation in Europe. The European Natura 2000 Award aims to bring the success of the network to the public’s attention and to demonstrate its importance for protecting biodiversity across Europe.

Good Practice Exchange is designed to support people and organisations working in a range of socio-economic sectors in Europe to align their operations in support of the European Union's Natura 2000 network of protected areas. Natura 2000 sites provide protection for key habitats and endangered species. However, in designating substantial areas of land as Natura 2000 sites, the EU and Member States recognise that there will be implications for companies and organisations in a range of socio-economic sectors. As far as possible, Natura 2000 is designed to enable the continued social and economic use of protected areas, provided this supports local nature conservation objectives of a site.

Outside the EU, the Emerald Network is the implementation mechanism of the Bern Convention just as Natura 20090 is the implementation mechanism for the Birds and Habitats Directive.


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