Improvements are needed in the management, financing and monitoring of Natura 2000, the EU’s flagship biodiversity programme, according to a new report from the European Court of Auditors. While recognising that Natura 2000 plays an important role in protecting biodiversity, the auditors found shortcomings in management and a lack of reliable information on costs and financing. Funding was not sufficiently tailored to the needs of environmental sites.
The auditors visited 24 Natura 2000 sites in France, Germany, Spain, Poland and Romania, covering most of the biogeographical regions in Europe, and consulted with various stakeholder groups. They acknowledged the major role played by Natura 2000 in protecting biodiversity, but concluded that the network had not been implemented to its full potential.
“The setting-up of the Natura 2000 network was a long process, now mostly completed. To achieve adequate protection of biodiversity across the Natura 2000 sites, the Member States must still put in place proper conservation measures, appropriately funded and with a complete set of indicators measuring the results achieved,” said Nikolaos Milionis, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report.