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Selection and evaluation

Natura 2000 Award

The European Natura 2000 Award selection and evaluation process begins with the deadline of the call for applications. It is completed with the announcement of the winners of the five categories and the European Citizens’ Award at the high-profile Award Ceremony, usually held in Brussels on or around Natura 2000 Day on 21 May.

The selection and evaluation process consists of three key steps: eligibility, selection and decision.


Applications must be submitted using the online application form.

All applications are screened for their eligibility. Any entity or group based in the EU is eligible to apply. Applications must explicitly refer to one or more Natura 2000 sites. They can be written in any of the official EU languages except Maltese and Gaelic. All efforts are made to assess the applications in their original language, although in some cases it may be necessary to translate the application.

Applications by multiple applicants are allowed, but one of the applicants has to be designated as the lead applicant. Applicants have to clearly present tangible results achieved in the past five years.

More information on the 2024 eligibility criteria can be found here


All eligible applications are assessed by an independent evaluation team. They evaluate applications against five criteria: effectiveness, originality, durability, costs and benefits, and replicability. Applications providing descriptive yet to the point qualitative and quantitative information are likely to score better.

Overviews of the 2024 criteria for each of the categories are provided below (in English only):

The outcome of the selection phase is a shortlist of finalists, established through a ranking of the evaluation scores in each category.

2024 Evaluation Team

The 2024 evaluation team is composed of eight independent experts.


Based on the shortlist of finalists, a high-level jury chooses the winners of the five category awards. In a parallel and independent process, the winner of the Citizens' Award is chosen by a public vote. The European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries announces all six winners at the Award Ceremony.


The members of the 2024 jury include the Director-General of Environment of the European Commission, and representatives of the European Presidency, the Committee of the Regions and other involved stakeholders.