Seminar About Financing Natura 2000 Network
On the 13th of November a seminar took place at the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development about the funding opportunities available for the Natura 2000 network in the next planning period 2014-2020. Seminar presenters included Frank Vassen, a representative from the Environment Directorate-General of the European Commission,  Nature Conservation Agency’s project NAT-PROGRAMME Manager Juris Jatnieks and representatives from the World Wide Fund for Nature and the Ministry of Agriculture.
This year EU member states were given the opportunity to structure and improve financing of the network of specially protected areas Natura 2000 by declaring their National nature conservation priorities in a Priority Action Framework, which indicates nature conservation priorities for the next 6 years and estimates about the required funding to meet these nature conservation targets.
In Latvia the elaboration of PAF was coordinated by NAT-PROGRAMME team of experts, who closely collaborated with other nature specialists from the state as well as the NGO sector. Expert views and suggestions were collated, discussed and evaluated to determine what are the most significant priorities in nature conservation for Latvia.
In almost an hour long presentation Project Manager Juris Jātnieks presented the final version of PAF, explained its structure and demonstrated examples of the 44 priorities. Some of the most significant categories include habitat mapping, habitat protection, management and restoration and also development of nature infrastructure. The Framework also includes provisional estimates of funding needed for various conservation and management activities in Natura 2000 sites in Latvia.
PAF will help ensuring strategic and targeted allocation of finances for nature conservation actions from various EU funds - European Agricultural Fund for Rural Developmen, EU Structural Funds, European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. With the help of PAF it will be possible to determine what nature conservation activites require funding, as well as the potential to receive funding from such sources as LIFE, research fund „Apvārsnis 2020” and National Funds.
At least once during the 2014-2020 planning period it will be possible to update PAF according to new data about the status of habitat and species conservation in Latvia. European Comission intends to use PAF as a basis for evaluating the use of EU funding – investments in nature conservation should be in line with the priorities indicated in PAF.

 Presentation by Juris Jātnieks (in Latvian): Financial Requirements for Natura 2000 Network and Priority Action Framework (PAF)( 1.44 MB) 
 All seminar presentations are available here

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