On 21 May, a special event was held prior to the Biodiversity and Nature Directors’ Meeting in Denmark to launch the EU celebrations marking 20 years of the Habitats Directive and nature protection. A series of events will take place throughout 2012, mainly focusing on the achievements of both LIFE and Natura 2000.

Major events around Natura 2000 are expected to take place across the EU, with the next one scheduled in Kozjanski Park in Slovenia on 20 July and culminating with a key conference with the EuroParc Foundation at Hoge Kempen National Park, Belgium in October (see our Events for more info).

FACE has taken the opportunity of this 2012 focus to better profile the benefits of hunters’ involvement in Natura 2000, and thus capitalise on this renewed effort by the Commission to communicate clearly to Member States that there is a place for hunters in Natura 2000, something which is too often lost in translation between EU policy and local implementation. FACE ensured that in the European Commission’s “Celebratory Brochure” (the material centerpiece to the activities and events across the EU scheduled in 2012), a case study entitled “Hunters in Natura 2000: a force for good” was featured. This feature outlines a concrete example from the Federation of Hunters of Haute Vienne in France and sends an important message, as this Brochure is produced in 5 languages and will be distributed across the EU. You can view it online, with hunters featured on page 45. The Commission has been using positive language in its communications, referring to hunting on page 43 of the same publication, and in its official press release:

“Natura 2000 is not a system of strict nature reserves but is based on a much wider principle of sustainable land and water use management.”