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ENEP promoted at Green Week 2015

As part of our work on the refit of the Birds and Habitats directives ENEP has now formally responded to the open consultation. The consultation that closed on Friday 24th July saw the the largest number of consultation responses ever received to a European Commission public consultation. The response follows on from the efforts to reach out to stakeholders on environmental issues in Brussels through Green Week which focused on the refit of the nature directives.We were supported by our British member associations CIEEM and IES. This year’s Green Week focused on Nature and Biodiversity and on strategies to counter biodiversity loss in the EU and was held in the EGG conference centre. ENEP welcomed Francois Wakenhut from DG ENVIRONMENT where we had an opportunity to present our TTFs position paper  and underline the important role played by environmental professionals in the implementation of the directives. 

The conference started with an opening session with speeches by Frans Timmermans (First Vice-President of the European Commission) and Karmenu Vella (Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries) and closed with a session titled “Where do we go from here?”. The closing session summed up the debates of the week took stock of progress made in protecting valuable habitats and species, and examining the role that nature has played in creating jobs and stimulating new investment. Many were especially interested in what Luxembourg’s environment minister had to say, as Luxembourg will hold the next presidency of the European Council. Carole Dieschbourg outlined their three main environmental aims for their term: supporting strong sustainable development goals, securing a strong deal at the COP21 Paris climate conference in December and protecting biodiversity. 

Is EU Nature legislation fit for purpose? This session on the refit of the Birds and Habitat directives was amongst the most popular sessions and was chaired by previous Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik. The first speaker at this session was Dr Nickel of Germany’s Ministry for the Environment, who emphasised that the nature directives are “indispensable” and argued that now we have finally achieved legal certainty in this area and affirmed that we are beginning to see early successes and it would be a very bad idea to start re-discussing the framework and start the process all over again. The Secretary General of Europe’s farmers’ association, COPA-COGEGA, Pekka Pesonen, followed his speech. He welcomed the Fitness Check, arguing that we must ensure that conservation legislation does not threaten rural livelihoods. He called for improvements in implementation and a reduction in red tape. Mike Clarke, the CEO from the UK Royal Society for the Protection of Birds's gave a very interesting presentation, where he emphasised, using a number of very poignant case studies showing the charity and developers working side by side, that we need to modernise and update our approaches to implementation, whilst ensuring that our safety net for nature does not fail. Other popular sessions were sessions on “Innovating cities with Nature” on nature-based solutions in cities with speakers from various backgrounds and a session on “Web and IT for Nature”. This session included an introduction to the Eurobird portal by Gabriel Gargallo of the Catalan Ornithological Institute. This online tool combines data collected by citizen science groups across Europe to allow users to create maps of migration patterns and compare them with various biotic and abiotic metrics. ENEP presented its position statement on the refit of the Birds and Habitats directives and promoted the network to an audience of environmental professionals and policy makers from all over Europe and beyond. With an estimated attendance of over 6000 people the conference was deemed to have been a great success. READ MORE AND WATCH THE VIDEOS

 

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Issue 43