MedWet and the Mediterranean Wetlands Observatory (MWO) participated in the 2nd Mediterranean Natura 2000 Seminar related to the Natura 2000 Biogeographical Process.
The seminar was organised by the NGO Terra Cypria (Cyprus), with the generous support of the Environment Department and the Forestry Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development & Environment.
Launched by the European Commission in 2011, the aim of the seminar is to improve and strengthen the implementation of Natura 2000. The primary purpose of the Natura 2000 Seminars is to help sharpen the focus on the strategic targets to be achieved and contribute to meeting the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy objectives.
The seminars provide the means to:
- work together and collaborate on practical habitat management issues identified as being of common priority and shared importance;
- take stock of the current conservation status of specific priority habitats in a biogeographical region and determine what needs to be done collectively to improve, maintain or restore the condition of habitats and species of community interest;
- share experience, build knowledge and develop consensus about priority management actions required for particular habitat types or species, as well as to address specific themes;
- take specific agreed cooperative actions to restore or maintain favourable conservation status for those habitats that fall within their territory; and
- network and exchange management experience information and continue building know-how about the most effective ways to achieve favourable conservation status of habitats and species of community importance.
This second seminar included four ‘Thematic Working Groups’ which are:
- Assessment and sustainable development of ecosystems (in particular, water related services);
- Conservation objectives, monitoring and evaluation;
- Effective governance models for integrated approaches to implement Natura 2000;
- Addressing threats and pressure on Mediterranean habitats and species – for example, ways to assess and mitigate the negative impacts of land use pressures, and dealing with ecological connectivity.
Specifically, the seminar looked to identify and, where possible, agree a biogeographical-level roadmap for cooperative action, including future practical management actions that are required to improve favourable conservation status.
Some Mediterranean case studies focusing on different thematic issues were presented. Thomas Galewski, from the Mediterranean Wetlands Observatory (Tour du Valat), spoke about “Evaluating the impact of anthropogenic pressures and the efficiency of conservation measures on Mediterranean wetlands and their biodiversity.” His presentation showcased the results of Natura2000 (N2000), habitats status and trends, and provided positive news on the effectiveness of the protection from EU Directives.
The European Commission as well as the University of Valencia, the Spanish and French Ministries of Environment, IUCN Mediterranean, EKBY Greek Biotope / Wetland Centre, and the Management Authority of Axios Delta (Greece) expressed their interest in the results shown and were interested in developing future projects which will use the MWO skills in the monitoring and evaluation of the conservation status of N2000 sites.
Role of MedWet
MedWet was actively involved in the working group “Effective governance models for integrated approaches to implement Natura 2000”, mainstreaming the importance of the participative approach by gathering different stakeholders (Ministries, managers, local communities as well as the different representatives of multilateral environmental agreements such as Ramsar, CMS and CBD …) around sound management and implementation of Natura 2000.
MedWet took the opportunity to present its concept note of a future LIFE project Information and Governance that will help tackling the governance around environmental management regarding national/European/international protection labels such as Natura2000 and Ramsar.
The MWO participated in the working group “Conservation objectives, monitoring and evaluation”, where there was important discussion around the definition of habitats, which was apparently not shared in the same way by all Mediterranean Member States.
MedWet and the MWO also proposed to the European Commission to organise the future Natura 2000 Biogeographical Process Mediterranean Seminar in 2019/2020 in the Camargue, to address a specific priority habitat: the coastal ecosystems. This seminar could gather Natura 2000 stakeholders with other Mediterranean stakeholders working on this specific ecosystem such as partners of MAVA-funded projects, Interreg partners etc.
There was also a long presentation of the LIFE programme by the European Commission. For the last phases (2018-2020), applicants should not expect important changes. There will be more funding available and that applications could be submitted in two stages: one concept note of ten pages, and if the first round of selection is passed, a full application as usual.
The seminar presentations can be found here.
Download the report of the meeting.