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European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency
News article | 10 March 2021 | Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

LIFE platform meeting on financing connectivity: Building the Trans-European Nature Network

Glen Tilt_1

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Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises

The LIFE community of nature restoration practitioners has practical experience to share on how best to select priority corridor areas to increase ecological connectivity across European landscapes, and deliver multiple benefits for nature, climate and people. Projects under the LIFE programme have piloted different governance models and funding options for ecological corridors.

During our 4 March webinar, speakers looked at financing opportunities for connectivity currently available through several European Union funds and programmes, including: the Green Deal Investment PlanHorizon Europe, funding under the common agricultural policyEuropean Regional Development Fund and Interreg Europe.

Market-based mechanisms, public-private investments, corporate social responsibility and crowdfunding were also presented by an expert panel from the public, private and third sectors, including several LIFE project representatives.

What was said?

In his overview of financing mechanisms for connectivity conservation, Jamie McCallum, IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas said: 

‘Economic instruments offer landowners a choice, they are not a command. This voluntary component, while being incentivised, is very powerful. These instruments often use price signals to change behaviour - they remedy failures in the marketplace by incentivising positive externalities and disincentivising harmful side effects.’

In his presentation on Priority Action Frameworks (PAFs) and connectivity, Przemyslaw Oginski from the European Commission's Directorate-General for environment said:

'Priority Action Frameworks are the planning tools needed to achieve the goals of nature conservation. To date, the Commission has received 55 PAFs from 24 Member States. Overall, we estimate that €12.5 billion per year is needed to manage and restore the Natura 2000 network for the benefit of habitats and species.’

Guillem Bagaria, from Xarxa per a la Conservació de la Natura (XCN), spoke about the need for more Innovative financial mechanisms for forest management in Spain:

‘There are several tax incentives for forest conservation in my country but none of these specifically cover biodiversity. However, Catalonia will soon approve a public registry of conservation estates that will include privately protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures. This is welcome news and a step closer to having such biodiversity conservation tax incentives.’

What has the EU been doing?

With the recently adopted Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, the EU intends to build a Trans-European Nature Network, by enlarging the network of protected areas with an ambitious target of 30% of land and 30% of seas to be legally protected by 2030. The first legally binding targets for nature restoration will be proposed this year. The completed Trans-European Nature Network will be crucial for the survival of Europe’s native species and habitats.

Since 1992, the EU LIFE programme has been instrumental in establishing the Natura 2000 network, the world’s largest multinational coordinated network of protected areas.

Missed the webinar?

You can view a recording of the entire webinar here.

Want to learn more about LIFE’s impact on nature?

Bringing Nature back through LIFE (brochure)

Bringing Nature back through LIFE – impact on nature and society (in-depth study)

Connecting the dots: LIFE lessons on ecological connectivity (factsheet)

#LIFE4nature #LIFEconnectivity

Image: The tree-lined River Tilt, Glen Tilt, Tayside and Clackmannanshire area. Photo: ©Lorne Gill/NatureScot - (Photo courtesy of EcoCo LIFE Scotland LIFE13 BIO/UK/000428)