N2000 Action Plan for Nature

Action plan launched in April 2017

Following the long evaluation process of the Natura 2000 Birds and Habitats Directives and the conclusions published at the end of last year, the Directives are fit for purpose, although substantial improvements in their implementation are needed.

Following this result, the European Commission has launched an Action Plan “for nature, people and the economy” in April 2017, which was presented at a conference on the 6th June 2017 in Brussels.

The Commission believes that

the action plan will lay a solid foundation for reconciling and building bridges between nature, people, and the economy.

Main aim of the Action Plan

The aim of the Action plan is to provide guidance for better implementation of the Directives, to allow achievement of the EU’s biodiversity targets for 2020 which are the halting and reversing of biodiversity loss and the improvement of climate resilience and mitigation.

The focus will now be on making sure that they are implemented in the most effective and efficient way to realise their full potential for nature, people and the economy,

said Karmenu Vella, the European Commissioner for the Environment and Maritime affairs.

The Action Plan – 4 priority areas and 15 concrete actions:

Most of the actions will be performed by the European Commission and Committee of the Regions, but support from member states and relevant stakeholders, such as Protected Areas will be needed.

Priority A: Improving guidance and knowledge and ensuring better coherence with broader socioeconomic objectives

  • Actions included in this priority aim at dissolving tensions between nature protection and
  • socioeconomic activities, through smarter participatory processes. This will be achieved through greater involvement with landowners and users; better access to information and data for the implementation of the Directives; and recognition of how healthy ecosystems contribute to wellbeing and economic development.

Priority B: Building political ownership and strengthening compliance

  • This priority involves completing the Natura 2000 network, strengthening Member’s states compliance with the Nature Directives and developing action plans for threatened species and habitats.

Priority C: Strengthening investment in Natura 2000 and improving synergies with EU funding instruments

  • There is a massive gap between costs of implementing Natura 2000 (around 5,8 billion Euro per year) and the benefits arising from it (estimated in 200/300 billion Euro per year). This priority previews in one hand a strong reinforcement in nature – through the support of State members in their financial plans; increase of LIFE programme budget and Horizon 2020; and stimulation of the private sector to take part in nature conservation activities. On the other hand, it previews better synergies between the Common Agricultural Policy and the Fishery policies; and support on the implementation of green infrastructures and connectivity.

Priority D: Better communication and outreach, engaging citizens, stakeholders and communities

  • The European Commission together with the Committee of Regions will use all available platforms to raise awareness and promote local involvement and exchanges of knowledge. This priority previews also a higher recognition on good management practices in Natura 2000 areas and the development of the European Solidarity Corps.


Communication of the Action Plan for nature, people and the economy (download all linguistic versions here)
Detailed factsheets on each of the 15 actions