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1 December 2013

CEEweb became coordinator of the EHF management working group

In autumn 2013, CEEweb became coordinator of the Natura 2000 management working group of the European Habitats Forum. The most relevant activities are summarized below.

Perhaps the most relevant process during the recent months was the Biogeographic Process with the Alpine Seminar having been organized in Austria in November 2013. With this, the process has arrived to its mid-term, having completed the two main events (Preparatory Workshop and Seminar) for already three regions, Boreal, Atlantic and Alpine. The process aims to improve and strengthen the implementation of Natura 2000 through the development of synergies and co-operations between various actors, identifying concrete collaborative follow-up actions with clear commitment and timetable. For instance, a workshop was recently held in the UK, as a follow-up action of the Atlantic Seminar, about Nitrogen Deposition and the Nature Directives in December 2013. However, the clear identification and the actual implementation of the follow-up actions were often incomplete in the regions discussed so far, which raised concerns on the NGO side about the effectiveness of the process. NGOs therefore will be happy to see the proper follow-up of the recent Alpine Seminar. In parallel, the Commission has launched the Continental, Pannonian, Black Sea and Steppic processes, with the first joint Steering Committee meeting for the four regions planned for early March, aiming to discuss further organization of the processes. Meanwhile, the Mediterranean process is still waiting for its host country to be identified. More information about the process is available in its Communication Platform.

The Commission has organized a meeting of its Natura 2000 Management Working Group in October 2013, while the ad hoc Working Group on Natura 2000 and Forests met twice during the Autumn, in October and December 2013, with active NGO representation on both. The group has prepared the draft of the Guidance Document on Natura 2000 and forests. In parallel, the EC is starting a new mailing list regarding the upcoming guidance on hydropower in Natura 2000, where couple of EHF experts are to be included, too.