GreenForce update on its activities in 2008
Preparatory meeting held on 14th April 2008 in Brussels
Preparatory meeting was focused on the organization of the autumn meeting in the Netherlands. The date of the working session is set at 15 until 17 October; venue to be decided. Workshop will be focused on the programmed enforcement in nature protection, especially in Natura 2000 sites and also CITES. The results of the working session should a.o. provide the GreenForce input to the further development of the Recommendation 2001/331/EC providing for minimum criteria for environmental inspections.
Expert meeting held on 3rd -6th September 2008 in Laufen (GE)
Workshop: From paper to practice
The meeting was attended by 41 participants from 19 Member States, Croatia, Serbia and the Commision. The workshop was held at Laufen in Bavaria. German and Austrian organizers prepared excursions with practical examples of management in Natura 2000 sites.
At the workshop were discussed minimum standards for management planning on Natura 2000 sites, transparency and participation, implementation of management plans from paper to practice, personal counterparts in Natura 2000 sites, conservation and restoration measures and financial instruments. First block of presentations gave an overview of the situation of Natura 2000 in GE, AT, NL, HU, LT. The presentations of the first thematic block showed transparent and participative ways of putting Natura 2000 management plans into practice. Practical examples of how land users and other stakeholders accomplish conservation and restoration measures by agreement were presented by representatives of GE, AT, NL, CZ, SP.
Participants discussed and analyzed the ingredients for success in engaging with stakeholders in three different working groups. Based on the experience of 21 countries the groups developed lists of key factors and indicators for a successful implementation of management plans. The third group generated a paper which underlined the significance of communication between the different participants for a successful implementation process.
Expert meeting held on 15th - 17th October 2008 in Garderen (NL)
Workshop: “Towards common guidelines for Greenforce”
The meeting was attended by 48 participants from 20 Member States, Croatia, Serbia and the Commision. The Netherlands organised an EU Workshop for enforcers and policymakers within the context of the Greenforce Network for Nature 2000 areas and the network for CITES enforcement (EWG).
The aims of the meeting were:
- To identify similarities, differences and gaps between Environmental Enforcement (Recommendation 2001/331/EC) and Green Enforcement;
- To present four European cases of Green enforcement similar to the framework of regulatory cycle used by Environmental Enforcement. Cases presented were: species, as for example birds of prey, spatial planning including compensation matters (Habitats Directive), CITES and Forestry;
- To find a basis for developing guidelines on European Minimum Criteria for Green Enforcement;
General conclusions from Garderen:
The meeting recognised that voluntary compliance allied to compliance promotion is always the preferred approach and first step in achieving Natura 2000 objectives. Enforcement is however necessary and a final step where voluntary compliance has failed to deliver, and these guidelines help to address these circumstances. There are also acute problems and situations where immediate action is required (e.g. immediate habitat and species destruction) Therefore, there is added value in having common voluntary guidelines in order to ensure effective and focused implementation and enforcement of Natura 2000 legislation. Such guidelines should focus on methodology, be of procedural nature and should contain key preventive and compliance promotion elements. Nevertheless, MS are responsible for formulating the enforcement and inspection plans.
The merits of such guidelines could be to ensure a level playing field amongst MS, to foster political will for enforcement, to provide practitioners with benchmarks and to ensure provision of adequate resources. These guidelines could strengthen Natura 2000 enforcement and may be of assistance in other areas of nature enforcement. The IMPEL project “Doing the right things” provide a very good starting point. They have proved to be useful for the MS that have already used them for enforcement of legislation. There is a need for compilation and exchange of good practice examples and experiences of MS, which should be incorporated into the guidelines.
Tools and channels for information exchange and communication between agencies and MS are needed.
4th Greenforce Plenary Meeting held on 3rd December 2008 in Brussels
Final reports from above mentioned meetings were discussed at the 4th Greenforce Plenary Meeting. Both reports were adopted by the participants. The Chairman emphasised the useful recommendations from these two meetings in relation to experience sharing on the management of forest NATURA 2000 sites, guidance elaboration as a possible tool to diminish infringement cases, and thanked the German, Austrian and Dutch members for their excellent organisation of the two meetings. The working plan for 2009 was approved.
More information about the Greenforce activities can be found on the web page of the network http://ec.europa.eu/environment/greenforce/index_en.htm