21 May - European Natura 2000 Day
To celebrate the Natura 2000 network – one of the EU's most outstanding achievements – and to honour the efforts of everyone involved in making it a success, the European Commission together with the European Parliament, the Council Presidency and the Committee of the Regions declared 21st May as European Natura 2000 Day.
European Natura 2000 Day relates to the 21st May 1992, when both EU Habitats Directive and LIFE programme were approved. This Directive together with the Birds Directive (adopted in 1979) became a base of EU Natura 2000 Network of protected areas.
Over 27.800 natural sites of high ecological value all over Europe are part of the Natura 2000 Network. With a total surface of nearly one million square kilometres, it is the largest network of conservation areas in the world.
From several years the Republic of Serbia is developing different projects to implement the Birds and Habitats Directives and to identify the main important sites in the country to be part of this network. Currently, the Natura 2000 project aims to designate the first list of Natura 2000 potential sites, together with the harmonisation of relevant environmental legislation, with the building capacities between Natura 2000 managers, and the creation of an information system with the Serbian biodiversity database.
The project has different activities but with a big focus in the fieldwork activities. Together with Serbian experts in species and habitats that are part of the project, field mapping activities are being implemented to gather essential data from the field, to cover gaps of information, to have enough evidence to identify the sites with high conservation value and to improve the knowledge and the biodiversity data in Serbia. And very interesting things are happening during the implementation of the project, as for example the detection of a new distribution area for Lycaena helle (Paklenac), a butterfly species Endangered in Europe, glacial relict and with a few and located populations on the Balkans, only in Stara Planina.
The Natura 2000 Network considers that the European landscape has been intervened by human beings for thousands of years and that the biodiversity they host is the result of cultural and historic interaction between man and nature. That is why the network does not propose the creation of strict nature reserves where human activities are excluded but foster a kind of nature conservation goes hand in hand with the obtaining of benefits for the population and the economy at large. Far from being an obstacle to socio-economic development, the Natura 2000 Network offers new opportunities for the development of traditional productive activities, recreational activities, and tourism.
The 28th Anniversary of the European Natura 2000 Day will put the spotlight on “young people and nature” aiming at inspiring them to get engaged for nature protection and restoration. Given the current situation with COVID-19 in Europe, we will be celebrating this special day on social media. Use the #Natura2000 or #Natura2000Day and join us there!