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What's it all about ...


Against the background of the imperative to protect our natural diversity we are facing the challenge to finance management measures for our natural environment.

European funds provide different opportunities to complement the financing of national, regional and local nature conservation measures in the member states to preserve the precious natural assets and cultural landscapes. The European approach for financing of Natura 2000 suggests that all nature conservation measures must be integrated into all EU funds. The current funding period 2007-2013 has shown great potential for financing the promotion of biodiversity and nature within the Operational Programmes of ERDF. Indeed, 3.8 billion € have been allocated for nature investments across all ERDF Operational Programmes. However, the country and current project allocations of these funding opportunities vary enormously across Europe.

Herein the project idea has its source and a partnership has been developed.


Duration: January 2010 to December 2012
Co-Funding source: Interreg IVc
Partnership: 14 partners from 10 EU-countries
Leadpartner: Environmental Agency Austria

The partnership

The project partnership consists of 14 public bodies from 10 countries in the EU which are responsible for the implementation of ERDF funding or have experience in applying for these funds. The project is led by the Environment Agency Austria. The management and coordination is provided by WWF Germany.

AT     Environment Agency Austria
RO    Giurgiu County Council
PL     Marshal Office of Warmia & Mazury Voivodship
IT      Province of Rieti
GR    Municipal Enterprise For Planning & Development of Patras S.A.
GR    Prefecture Preveza
ES     Direction General for Nature Environment & Biodiversity of the Region of Murcia
ES     Forest Sciences Center of Catalonia
UK     Environment Agency Wales
CZ     University Olomouc
AT     Austrian Federal Forests
AT     Donau-Auen National Park
SI      Development Agency Savinja
FR    Côte d`Armor General Council

Objectives of the project

The overall objective of the project is to improve regional policies and practices for nature conservation and biodiversity by increasing the opportunities for financing these measures from the ERDF, whilst giving them a greater impact.

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  1. To establish and strengthen a dynamic and sustainable network of experts and stakeholders concerned with financing natural heritage, biodiversity and nature conservation and the Natura 2000 network, through: partner meetings, interregional workshops, training sessions, conferences, participation in external events, and joint work on identification and analysis of good practice;
  2. To enable the network to serve as a communication platform for promotion and improvement of ERDF-funded natural heritage, biodiversity, and nature conservation projects throughout the EU for the current and future programming periods;
  3. To identify and overview different approaches to the planning and allocation of ERDF funds for natural heritage, biodiversity, and nature conservation and for integrating them into overall development programmes;
  4. To analyze success factors for ERDF-funded natural heritage, biodiversity, and nature conservation projects and assess their transferability across member states and regions;
  5. To develop a data base of 60 successful and transferable best practice examples of ERDF-funded projects which support natural heritage, biodiversity, and nature conservation;
  6. To develop best practice techniques based on actual partner experience targeted at relevant specific funding themes: e.g. green infrastructure, tourism, education, forest biodiversity, and Natura 2000 management;
  7. To provide training and capacity-building for less-experienced partners through a set of partner-to-partner training events;

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