Natura 2000: much to be proud of!

Dr. Theo van der Sluis, Wageningen Environmental research

Image author: Theo van der Sluis

Having worked over 30 years on international conservation, I’m proud of what has been achieved in Europe. Natura 2000 is the largest protected area network in the world, with in general well-managed sites, this is a tremendous achievement! I’m organising knowledge exchange between Member States, around the Birds and Habitats Directives. European countries are very motivated to conserve and improve our natural treasures. Besides of great value for biodiversity and our diverse landscapes, it part of the culture and shared heritage of the people. People’s support for nature remains high. Also many small farmers call for support for more sustainable, small scale farming.
It is painful to see how conservation and environmental quality in general has been hijacked by political parties. Nature is framed as an ‘obligation’ for Brussels, and obstructing the ‘legitimate development’ of the farming sector. It is a frame started by Bleeker, which echoes in the current Dutch BBB party. The Dutch governments’ resistance has jeopardized the Nature Restoration Law, which is currently still pending. A law which can and must be passed still! Our vote will be decisive for this law, for us, and in the end our future, and children’s future!

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