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We are celebrating 31 years since the adoption of the Habitats Directive

19 May 2023
On 21 May 1992, the EU Directive on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and Wild Flora and Fauna, better known as the EU Habitats Directive, was adopted. This documents, together with the Directive on the protection of wild birds, are the foundational documents for European policy in the field of the environment and represent the basis of the pan-European ecological network – Natura 2000.
The directives focus on building a network of protected natural habitats and a system for the protection of species of wild flora and fauna of high conservation and socio-economic importance for the Community. Each member state of the European Union is obliged to identify the relevant habitats and species on its territory and make every effort for their sustainable management, by establishing its part of the pan-European network of protected areas.
Today, the Natura 2000 network in the European Union covers over 27,000 protected areas – territories and marine areas that contribute to the protection and sustainable management of the European natural heritage. More than 18% of the territory of the EU and more than 9% of the marine territories within the scope of the Community are Natura 2000 areas. They take care of the protection of more than 1400 species of wild animals and plants and more than 460 species of birds, conduct a policy in support of traditional nature-friendly forms of livelihood and use of natural resources, apply models for sustainable development. It is also the largest network of natural areas with a common management approach in the world.
Since 2013, we have been celebrating May 21 as the European Natura 2000 Day.