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Application process

Natura 2000 Award

You can find out general information about the Natura 2000 Award application process below. The application phase for the 2022 edition is now closed, but you can find all information about the ongoing edition here. We expect to launch a new call for applications in 2023. 


Why apply?

Applying for the Natura 2000 Award has multiple benefits. We asked three past winners to tell us what they see as the biggest advantages. Here are their answers.

1. Recognition of your work

Your efforts in helping protect Europe’s most valuable species and habitats will become better known to a wider audience, and showcasing your success story will also provide inspiration for others who manage and promote Natura 2000 sites.

2. Media attention and visibility

Applicants of all eligible applications have their work promoted on the Natura 2000 Award website. All finalists are also invited to attend the Award Ceremony in Brussels. This provides an exciting opportunity to meet and network with other Natura 2000 heroes. The winners receive support to organise promotional events to reach local and national audiences.

3. Benefits for ongoing activities

Winners receive a small financial contribution to help support their future conservation efforts and, of course, a trophy, a certificate, and support to organise local promotional events in the winners' countries attended by representatives of the European Commission.

How to apply

Anyone directly involved in Natura 2000 – businesses, authorities, NGOs, volunteers, landowners, educational institutions or individuals – can apply for the Award.

A new call for applications is usually launched on Natura 2000 Day, on 21 May, every two years. Applicants submit their applications via an online form that will be accessible on this site. Thorough guidance will also be provided in the application form and on the site.

Sign-up to the Natura 2000 Award Newsletter to be informed when the next call is announced. 

You can find more information on the selection of the finalists and winners here.

Recommendations for applicants

Experiences gained from all the Natura 2000 Award editions to date give potential applicants and others working on Natura 2000 a thorough overview of good practice, as well as innovative and original measures and ways to improve management on Natura 2000 sites. 

A few points drawn out from the benchmarking exercise carried out after each edition are highlighted below:

  • Applications from Member States from which few applications have been received in the past – as well as categories with lower numbers of applicants – are encouraged. In addition, applications from new actors (or actors with traditionally conflicting views working together) are particularly welcome. 
  • All applicants must explicitly make the link between the actions / results and Natura 2000 site(s) clear in their application.
  • A number of past applications have demonstrated how Member States can learn from one another. Further initiatives in this area would be particularly welcome.
  • Finding innovative ways to pay for ecosystem services is of interest to a wide range of Natura 2000 actors.
  • The impact of funding by the LIFE programme is clearly confirmed by many the high-quality applications from LIFE projects. Nonetheless, applications which are funded in other ways - including much smaller, local projects - are very much welcome in order to demonstrate how everyone can contribute to the Natura 2000 network.
  • Communication and awareness raising are core components of many Natura 2000 related projects. Monitoring the success of these activities in terms of changed attitude and behaviour is key in demonstrating the activities’ success. 

Download the full benchmarking reports here: