Seminar Dialogue with the European Commission 2022

Following the successful Seminar-Dialogues organised in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, on the 15 and 16th of November 2022 13 EUROPARC and Protected Areas representatives and 12 Officers from the European Commission met for a dialogue.

By bringing together representatives of the European Commission and Protected Area professionals, EUROPARC aims to put a spotlight on the contribution of Protected Areas to the achievement of the European policy goals, whilst giving the European Commission a clear insight of the challenges faced by professionals in the field.

‘Seminar Dialogue’ is an opportunity to give a voice to nature within the European commission and highlight the importance of Protected Areas.

In 2022, EUROPARC and the European Commission DG Environment set up a programme focused on the following key areas:
• The new Restoration law: the role of, and the impact on, Protected Area
• Nature Conservation in the Climate change context

The programme, the report and the photo album are available here:

Programme Seminar Dialogue 2022

Report Seminar Dialogue 2022

Photo Album Seminar Dialogue 2022

The event with the European Commission was anticipated by an internal networking meeting for EUROPARC members, on the 15th of November. It provided participants with the opportunity to share expectations from the Seminar with the Commission, to refresh their knowledge of the complex institutional structure of the EU, and discover how the EUROPARC Brussels Office interacts with the European key actors in its lobby and advocacy work.

EUROPARC President Michael Hošek opens the 2022 Seminar Dialogue.

The 16th of November started with a welcome from the (acting) Head of Unit D.3 – Nature Conservation, DG Environment, Luisa Samarelli and EUROPARC President Michael Hošek.

Restoration Law

The programme started with a quick update on the implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and a presentation of the Commission’s proposal of the new Nature Restoration law.

The proposal outlines that:

  • by 2030 restoration measures will cover 20% of EU’s land and sea;
  • by 2050, measures will be in place for ALL ecosystems in need of restoration.

The proposal of the law details the targets connected with the Habitats and Birds Directives, more other sectors/habitats, identified as essentials, e.i. the urban ecosystems. The text of the Commission’s Proposal for a Nature Restoration Law is available in English here.

The EU level PAF: Funding needs and opportunities for nature

Conservation and restoration need resources! Przemek Oginski, DG ENV, introduced the “EU level PAF: Funding needs and opportunities for nature”.

He introduced the estimations of the financial needs for Natura 2000 in the current EU long-term budget (also known as Multi-annual Financial Framework – MFF) running from 2021 to 2027. The Commission analysed if, and how, the financial resources devoted to biodiversity in different programmes were successful and effective. During the French presidency of the Council, an important proposal has been made, for a new large financial investment in nature protection and restoration for the next MFF.

Nature Restoration – The role of Protected Areas

The Protected Areas’ perspectives were introduced by, João Cardoso de Melo – from Cascais Ambiente (PT) – and member of the EUROPARC Council. He shared the results of the Siggen Seminar 2022 “Nature Restoration – The role of Protected Areas”, where 11 experts from all over Europe came together to discuss the role Protected Areas have to play in the restoration process. Over the course of two days, participants worked in teams to find answers to the questions:

  • What are the benefits of nature restoration for communities?
  • How can we implement nature restoration (from a governance perspective)?
  • What are the key roles of Protected Areas (managers) in nature restoration? How can restoration projects be set up?

Finland’s Parks: experiences and lessons learnt in identifying restoration priorities and actions

Henrik Jansson, Director of Parks & Wildlife, Metsähallitus – (FI) presented the experiences of Finland’s Parks and lessons learnt in identifying restoration priorities and actions. For years, Finland has been engaged in habitat restoration. The topic is very important in the country, especially for the connection with the forestry sector, and one of the challenges is to find a compromise between conservation and economical use of the Finnish forest heritage.

White paper: Protected Areas and the European strategies for climate change adaptation and biodiversity

The EUROPARC Climate Change Task Force has been working on the preparation of the white paper: Protected Areas and the European strategies for climate change adaptation and biodiversity. The key messages were shared by Olivier De Sadeleer, project manager of the Natur’Adapt Project. Climate change defies us to take into account the big uncertainty on the future, in all strategies and actions for biodiversity, at all levels, inside and outside Protected Areas. These concepts are already included in the planning work of Brussels Environment Agency (BE) as showed in the presentation of the Case study: Climate change adaptation into the management of natural heritage sites, regional parks and forest in Brussels (BE)

Dialogue with the research and scientific sectors – NaturaConnect

The dialogue with the research and scientific sector is necessary for the implementation of the EU policies, especially in a climate change context. This will be one of the aspects of the new EUROPARC project ‘NaturaConnect’, introduced by the project manager Marit Schnepf.

Climate Policy Developments Relevant for Protected Areas

For the European Commission Perspectives, Peter Loeffler, DG CLIMA, shared an update about the Climate Policy Developments Relevant for Protected Areas. It is positive to note, that the decision makers in EU and at international level have started to agree about the connection on climate change, biodiversity and human health.

Guidance on climate change and Natura 2000

To support the Protected Area managers in dealing with climate change in Natura 2000 sites, the Commission is preparing a new guidance on climate change and Natura 2000. Participant Stefania Charisiadou, DG ENV, updated the participants about this process.