Following a thorough evaluation of the Birds and Habitats Directives, the European Commission has adopted the Action Plan for nature, people and the economy to improve their implementation and boost their contribution towards reaching the EU's biodiversity targets for 2020. The Action Plan focuses on four priority areas

  • Priority A: Improving guidance and knowledge and ensuring better coherence with broader socioeconomic objectives
  • Priority B: Building political ownership and strengthening compliance
  • Priority C: Strengthening investment in Natura 2000 and improving synergies with EU funding instruments
  • Priority D: Better communication and outreach, engaging citizens, stakeholders and communities

The Plan is complemented by detailed factsheets providing more information on each of the 15 actions to be carried out between now and 2019. Measures will be taken at EU level, but Member States and stakeholders concerned will also need to act, with increased support and assistance from the European Commission. 

The EU Action Plan was presented at a conference on the 6th June 2017 in Brussels. 


Natura 2000 is the centrepiece of the EU’s nature and biodiversity policy. Established under the EU’s Birds Directive and Habitats Directive, it is an EU-wide network of over 27,000 terrestrial and marine sites, covering more than 18 % of land area and 7% of the surrounding seas.

The aim of the network is to assure the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats. Well-functioning ecosystems provide benefits for human health, society and the economy. Natura 2000 provides an array of environmental advantages, while also serving a number of vital social and economic functions. In the EU, around 4.4 million jobs are directly dependent on healthy ecosystems, and a significant proportion of these are situated within Natura 2000 sites. In addition, the financial benefits that flow from the network itself are estimated to be in the range of EUR 200 to EUR 300 billion per year. 

The European Commission’s Action Plan for Nature, People and the Economy aims to improve the implementation of Natura 2000 and boost its contribution towards reaching the EU's biodiversity targets for 2020.