Process of creating the Natura 2000 Network

esquema desarrollo

The process of creating the Natura 2000 Network has gone through a series of phases to achieve what now constitutes a network of over 25,000 areas of high ecological value covering about one million square kilometres, forming the largest network of natural areas in the world, in the greatest commitment to nature conservation in Europe, and representing the main tool for halting and reversing the loss of biodiversity.

Phase 1: The member States determined the most important places for the protection of habitats and species listed in the different Appendices of the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) and the Birds Directive (2009/147/EC). This phase complies with strictly ecological criteria.

In the case of Spain, these tasks were performed in a coordinated manner by the Central Government and the Autonomous Communities, in such a way that the latter were responsible for the process of drawing up their respective proposals for places in the country under their competence and a national list of places in each biogeographic region (Alpine, Atlantic, Mediterranean and Macaronesian) was then drawn up upon the basis of their inclusion on the lists of the Autonomous Communities.

Phase 2: The member States send the Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for Birds and the national lists of Sites of Community Importance (SCIs) proposed for the Natura 2000 Network to the European Commission. The latter, with the information received and in cooperation with the member States, affected organizations, independent scientists and NGOs, select the Sites of Community Importance which will later be declared Special Areas of Conservation (SAC). This phase initiates the effective protection of the Special Conservation Areas (SPA) for Birds and the preventive protection of the proposed SCIs.

Phase 3: With the European Commission's approval of the list of Sites of Community Importance, the member States begin to implement a system of effective protection, including the obligation to approve conservation measures appropriate to the types of habitats and species present in each place.

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