The Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive form the backbone of biodiversity policy and the legal basis for our nature protection network. The aim of the Natura 2000 network is to ensure the long-term survival of Europe's most valuable and threatened species and habitats, listed under both directives. Projects need to be developed respecting the sites’ integrity.
Panellists from DG REGIO, DG ENVIRONMENT and JASPERS brought to the participants’ attention the key requirements under of Article 6(3) and 6(4) of the Directive 92/43/EEC (Habitats Directive) in the context of Major Projects’ preparation. A Member States’ experience in setting up site-specific conservation objectives was presented by representatives of the Lithuanian Railways company LTG Infra, which is responsible for the Lithuania's railway network infrastructure, safety, modernization, and development.
The presentations focused on the importance of Site-specific conservation objectives (SSCO), including setting up of SSCO, undertaking Appropriate Assessment (AA) in view of the SSCO and the necessary completeness of the Major Project application, including Appendix 1 Declaration, also known as Natura 2000 Declaration. During the presentations, panellists had the opportunity to provide the participants with guidance on how to address gaps and challenges during project preparation in relation to SSCO (e.g. lack of SSCO and/or poor quality of SSCO).
Speakers addressed challenges frequently encountered in project preparation, lessons learned from the 2014-20 period, and possible ways forward. The Webinar closed with an open discussion on the challenges for the 2021-27 period, and way to overcome them also with JASPERS advisory and capacity building support.