16.01.2013 / Project - News

SURF Nature – the work for biodiversity must go on!

SURF Nature partnership of 14 authorities and other bodies from ten countries has successfully finished the INTERREG IVC project. We came together three years ago to work on optimising regional policies and practices for the use of ERDF for investments into biodiversity and nature conservation.

We learned from each other and from the discussions with stakeholders in our interregional and regional workshops. We produced numerous publications to deliver our findings and suggestions for the next funding period to the broader public. The publications focus
• On implementing nature conservation and biodiversity into regional operational programmes of ERDF,
• On lessons learned and success factors of ERDF projects,
• On five special topics and opportunities for funding.
Using the input from our stakeholder workshops we elaborated guidance on assessing socio-economic benefits of ecosystems - especially of Natura 2000 - and guidance for national and regional level authorities for programming and administer ERDF in the next funding period.
Still, there is concern that the operational programmes will not adequately consider the needs for biodiversity and nature conservation and that the investment priorities will not be chosen reflecting biodiversity issues sufficiently.
So further efforts are needed to ensure that Cohesion Policy becomes an effective investment tool for biodiversity and nature conservation in Europe!

The Environment Agency Austria, as the lead partner for SURF Nature, would like to thank all our partners for their cooperation. We achieved a lot, cleared our obstacles, worked target-orientated, saw great places and interesting project examples and last not least had fun.
Thanks also to JTS for their support!

Maria Tiefenbach, Project Leader - Environment Agency Austria