The 2022 edition of the Natura 2000 Award will open on 21 May 2021.
The Natura 2000 Award was launched by the European Commission in 2013 to recognise excellence in the management of Natura sites and conservation achievements, and showcase the added value of the network for local economies. Natura 2000 is an European Union (EU) wide network of nature protection areas established under the 1992 Habitats Directive.
Anyone directly involved in Natura 2000 – businesses, authorities, NGOs, volunteers, landowners, educational institutions or individuals – can apply for the award.
Awards are made in five categories which have been updated for the 2022 edition to allow a greater focus on marine and coastal issues. The award categories are:
- Conservation on land – this award goes to achievements that have improved the conservation status of a particular habitat and/or group of species
- Marine conservation – this award recognises achievements that have improved the conservation status of a particular marine or coastal habitat type and/or marine or coastal species
- Communication – this award recognises successful communication activities aimed at increasing awareness or promoting Natura 2000, and which are liable to bring lasting changes in attitudes or behaviour towards the network
- Socio-economic benefits – this award recognises the creation of socio-economic benefits for local stakeholders resulting from activities linked to a Natura 2000 site such as a Natura 2000 label, nature-based tourism activities, increased revenue for specific stakeholder groups, or creation of new jobs, etc, and/or, conflict resolution efforts that have brought together different stakeholders in a way that has benefitted Natura 2000, focusing on an evolution from a polarised situation to an honourable compromise, with mechanisms in place for the various stakeholders to work together
- Cross-border cooperation and networking – this award recognises effective partnerships between stakeholders involved in the management/conservation of Natura 2000 sites, particularly where this has facilitated the resolution of problems more constructively than would have been the case if the partners had operated independently. The category recognises two kinds of partnership: cross-border collaboration, and networking among structures with similar thematic targets
There is also a Citizens’ Award which is decided by an online public vote on the finalist applications.
Applications by multiple applicants are allowed, but one of the applicants must be designated as the lead. Applicants must be based in the EU.
All finalists are invited to the Award Ceremony in Brussels, and the six winners receive a trophy and a small financial prize. Winners also receive financial support to organise a promotional event in their country to promote their win and to raise awareness about their achievements on a local and national level.
Applications for the 2022 Award will open on 21 May 2021 with a deadline of 30 September 2021 (17:00 CET).
Applications should be submitted by the 6 July 2021 (16:00) deadline.