A ministerial conference on the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Natura 2000 network of the EU held on 24-25 February in Strasbourg adopting a Declaration on the sustainable management of the network and the protection of biodiversity.
Cyprus was represented by Ministry of Agriculture’s Permanent Secretary Andreas Gregoriou and senior environmental Officer of the Environment Department Elena Stylianopoulou.
The meeting reviewed the achievements of the past 30 years, such as the increased protection of species and habitats, as well as the network’s contribution to biodiversity protection.
In his intervention, Gregoriou stressed “that there are still challenges that need to be addressed in order to implement changes on a larger scale to protect habitats and biodiversity”, referring in particular to the LIFE IP PHYSIS Programme, which for the last 10 years “has been supporting efforts in Cyprus to address challenges related to the involvement of local communities, the management of private land in Network areas, the improvement of the quality of biodiversity and the protection of biodiversity.”
Gregoriou also referred to the important contribution that the implementation of the Habitats and Birds Directives has made to the protection of biodiversity in Cyprus.
At the end of the meeting, the participants unanimously approved the Strasbourg Declaration regarding the sustainable management of the Natura 2000 network and the protection of biodiversity.
In this declaration, the EU’s environment ministers committed themselves to the protection of biodiversity, underlining the Natura 2000 network’s potential to make an effective contribution to improving the conservation status of species and habitats.
In addition, it was noted that the LIFE programme will continue to contribute funding to the management of the Natura 2000 network. The declaration also recognises the need for immediate action to achieve the objectives of the EU`s 2030 biodiversity strategy in all sectors, taking into account the impact of climate change.