Natura 2000 Awards – Winners 2018

Natura 2000 Awards Ceremony 2018 © European Commission

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Twenty-five finalists were present on 17 May 2018 in the Ceremony of Natura 2000 Awards, that took place in the Berlaymont in Brussels. The Ceremony was chaired by Karmenu Vella, the European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. Curiosity and adrenalin, to know who the winners were, reigned the atmosphere of the ceremony;

even though each of them knew that their presence there was a win itself and an opportunity to talk and to learn with each other.

Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom, and a transboundary project between Greece, Bulgaria were the six winners.

Natura 2000 awards winners 2018

Winners of the Natura 2000 with the members of the EU Commission – DG Environment and the Jury, where Ignace Schops, EUROPARC President, represented the NGOs perspective

Ignace Schops, EUROPARC President, was a member of the jury representing NGOs and attested how difficult of the decision of the final awardees. The other members of the Jury were:

  • Daniel Calleja Crespo – Director General of DG Environment;
  • Adina Ioana Vālean – Member of EP, Chairwoman of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Commitee;
  • Roby Biwer – first Vice Chairs of the Commission for the Environment, Climate Change and Energy for the Committee of Regions (CoR);
  • Diane Mitchell – Vice-chair of the COPA-COGECA Environment Working Group and Chief Environmental Adviser of the National Farmers’ Union of England and Wales.

Watch the films:

Get to know the Winners!

natura 2000 awards, ignace schops

Ignace Schops with Commissioner Karmenu Vella delivering the Natura 2000 Award “Reconciling Interests/Perceptions” to Callisto NGO (Greece) © European Commission

The Conservation Award went to the “Partnership to stop the poisoning of imperial eagles ” for addressing very effectively the illegal poisoning of the Imperial Eagle in Hungary, made by MME BirdLife.

In the Communication field won the project “Natura 2000: Connecting people with biodiversity“. The Spanish team composed by SEO / BirdLife and EFE; have implemented the awareness of Natura2000 from 10% to 22%.

Co-existing with bears in the 21st century: Difficulties and achievements” won the category for Reconciling interests/perceptions; Callisto increased significantly local tolerance towards bears in Greece.

The gold medal for the Socio-Economic Benefits went to the project “LIFE to alvars: restoration and grazing reintroduction for 2500 hectares of Estonian alvar grasslands” where the Environmental Board of Estonia involved local farmers in the long-term management of Natura 2000 sites.

For the section Cross-border Cooperation, the “Joint conservation efforts across three continents to save the sacred bird” project won for its support to the Egyptian vulture, now on the edge of extinction. Greek and Bulgarian custom were trained to control the illegal trade in Egyptian vultures thanks to HOS; BSPB; RSPB and WWF Greece.

With more than 50.000 votes the European Citizens’ Award went to the “School of Nature” project in Viana do Castelo in Northern Portugal; they achieve to brings school communities, and thus local communities, closer to their unique natural heritage thanks to field activities and teachers’ trainings.

EUROPARC at the networking event

Before the Ceremony, the European Commission/DG ENVI organised a networking meeting to promote experience exchange among the finalists and share useful resources. EUROPARC was invited to presented our Toolkit “Be a Better Communicator: Tools and Tips to help Natura 2000 Managers” with who we hope you can find some good tools and tips to inspire the communications.

EUROPARC Spain was among the finalists of the category “Reconciling interests/perceptions” with the project Sports in Natura 2000: Reconciling interests in Menorca. Get to know all project finalists here.

Finalists of the category “Reconciling interests/perceptions” © European Commission

About the Natura 2000 Awards

Every two years, the European Commission invites any organisation or person involved in Natura 2000, including public and local authorities, businesses, NGOs, landowners, educational institutions and individuals to showcase their work under 5 categories. EUROPARC Federation is an active supporter of the Natura 2000 Awards and, in this year’s edition, we were also partners in the promotion and communication activities.