EU-Directives and guidelines
Member states in the European Union (EU) are compelled to incorporate a number of different Directives in their own national legislation. In Sweden this has occurred through changes in the Swedish Environmental Code and different regulations under it. It is also legally binding for countries to achieve the objectives set in the Directives. However, member countries often have a relatively large degree of freedom in deciding how to reach the objectives.
Conservation issues within the EU are regulated in the Habitats Directive and Birds Directive (pdf). The aim of the Directives is to conserve species and habitats that are considered worthy of protection from a European perspective.
Two of the cornerstones in the Directives are:
- The Natura 2000 network of protected areas
- Strict protection of species
Over 1 000 species and more than 200 habitats are covered by both Directives, that have been established to prevent the extinction of wild plants and animals and the destruction of their habitats.
The work by the Swedish Species Information Centre on EU’s conservation Directive
The Swedish Species Information Centre has many tasks that are linked to these Directives. On behalf of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency the centre works to:
- Develop systems for data collection that are the basis for long-term monitoring and analysis of species and habitats covered by the Habitats Directive.
- Compile a draft report to the EU according to the Habitats Directive.
- Provide data and conduct reviews of proposals to the new Natura 2000 sites.
- Provide data that relates to the Directives.
- Support County Administrative Boards in their work with Natura 2000, not least in terms of monitoring the conservation goals in Natura 2000 sites.
The Centre also works with the links between the Habitats and Birds Directives and two other EU Directives:
- Water Framework Directive
- Marine Strategy Framework Directive
The Swedish Species Information Centre represents SLU in the consortium that is behind the European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity (ETC). The Centre also represents Sweden in two forums under the EU commission, where its species and habitats experts contribute to the EU discussions that aim to improve and effectively implement the Directives.