What are the Competencies for effective management of Natura 2000 sites?

Capacity Building project - First Training Programme 2015 © Propark Foundation for Protected Areas

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Natura 2000 site managers come from a very wide range of domains and have quite different backgrounds. Some of them are protected area managers, others are forest landowners, with many other occupations in-between. What they all have in common are the responsibilities to contribute through their Natura 2000 activities to maintaining or improving of the conservation status for the species and habitats for which these sites were designated.

Article written by Erika Stanciu

Director of ProPark Foundation for Protected Areas in Romania

What are the Competencies for effective and efficient management of Natura 2000 sites?

There are many possible answers if one raises the question: what are the top five or ten things you have to know very well as a Natura 2000 site manager, what should you be able to do and what should be your attitude to solve the challenges for species and habitat conservation in your area? Or to shorten the question: what are the competencies you need to do your work in an efficient and effective manner as a Natura 2000 manager? Many different answers are possible.

These answers can be grouped under a list of competencies that are relevant for most people involved in Natura 2000 management. Such a pre-defined list of competences is the starting point for a better understanding and knowledge about the needs of site managers and can help to plan and develop well-targeted capacity-building events and materials and to provide guidance and support for most of those who manage Natura 2000 sites.

A team of enthusiastic professionals gathered under the umbrella of the ‘LIFE e-Natura2000.edu: supporting e-learning and capacity building for Natura 2000 managers project to define a list of competencies that are needed for the management of Natura 2000 sites. This list, built on the IUCN’s Global Register of Competencies for PA Practitioners (2016), can be used by site managers to learn about their needs to improve competences for their jobs, for their every day work.

An online Training Needs Assessement

A first step in using the list of Natura 2000 competences was already taken within the Life e-Natura2000.edu project.  A practical tool was developed for the use of individuals engaged in the management of Natura 2000 sites, an online Training Needs Assessment for Natura 2000 site management (Online Natura 2000 TNA).


If you are one of the professionals targeted by this online tool or a Natura 2000 landowner who has the responsibility to manage species and habitats on your land according the requirement of the Habitats and Birds Directives, you might find this tool very useful.

The analysis can show you which are the topics where you should invest more efforts in learning and in acquiring the practical skills you need.

With your top needs identified, you can then turn to your employer and ask for support in developing your professional capacities or to design a plan for learning by yourself. By offering the list of topics in which you need further improvement of your professional competences for further analysis, you will help training organisation and institutions to provide materials and tools for developing capacities of Natura 2000 managers.

After the testing phase of the Online Natura 2000 TNA all those interested in assessing their competences will have access to this individual tool.