Action Plan Fitness Check of Nature Directives
Based on the findings of the Fitness Check of the EU Nature Directives, published on 16 December 2016, the Commission has decided to develop an Action Plan to improve the implementation of the Directives and to address the identified shortcomings.

Related to the development of the Action Plan the Commission organized an extraordinary meeting on 26 January to conduct a joint brainstorming on the possible content to address the implementation challenges of the Nature Directives. All actions to be included in the Plan shall be grounded in the results of the Fitness Check. 

The Commission presented preliminary ideas for the Action Plan and discussed these ideas with stakeholders in an open session during the meeting. Evident from this presentation was that the Commission is not planning to amend the Directives’ annexes, but instead the focus will be on better implementing the existing framework. Furthermore, there is a strong focus on measures outside the Natura 2000 network, especially on Green Infrastructure and on the mainstreaming of biodiversity into other policies (CAP, No Net Loss, Ecosystem Services were mentioned).

In the meeting, CEPF highlighted the importance to involve forest owners in all stages of the process, since this is crucial to obtain a better understanding and acceptance of the Natura 2000 network and following this, a better and successful implementation and management of the Natura 2000 network. Forest owners have to be seen as partners, as they are the ones who are managing most of the Natura 2000 network and are affected by the Nature Directives. Additional to that an adequate monetary investment is needed. There must be legal security on compensation mechanisms and an adequate compensation for all measures going beyond existing national forestry requirements. Furthermore, the Action Plan should focus on Natura 2000 network and not on actions outside the network and other initiatives as mentioned above, e.g. Green Infrastructure and No Net Loss. 

For more information, please see CEPF’s written input on the Action plan.