Illustration image for 'Strictly protected areas'

Stricly protected areas

EU biodiversity strategy for 2030: Strictly protected areas

March 22nd - 23th, La Rochelle, France
The platform meeting will also be broadcasted by videoconference.

The European Commission adopted, on 20th May 2020, a Communication on an “EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 – Bringing nature back into our lives”. This Strategy sets an ambitious objective of establishing a truly coherent Trans-European Nature Network, to include legal protection for at least 30% of the land, including inland waters, and 30% of the sea in the EU, of which at least 1/3 (10% of land and 10% of sea) to be under strict protection. These targets have been welcomed by the EU Council and supported by an own-initiative report of the European Parliament.

The Commission produced in October 2020 a draft note on criteria and guidance for protected areas designation, which includes a definition of strict protection for the purpose of the implementation of the targets set in the strategy. Member States and stakeholders have had the opportunity to discuss successive drafts of this note, which is expected to be agreed before the end of 2021.
A draft definition of strictly protected areas could read as follows: “Strictly protected areas are fully and legally protected areas designated to conserve (and/or restore) the integrity of biodiversity-rich natural areas with their underlying ecological structure and supporting natural environmental processes. Natural processes are therefore left essentially undisturbed from human activity”.

Strict protection is not an end in itself, but should be applied in areas hosting natural features which can thrive through natural processes.
The condition that natural processes should be left essentially undisturbed means that many strictly protected areas will be non-intervention areas, where only limited and wellcontrolled activities that do not interfere with natural processes will be allowed. Such activities may, in many cases, include scientific research, natural disaster prevention, invasive alien species control, non-intrusive activities and installations, non-intrusive and strictly controlled tourism, when such activities are compatible with the conservation objectives of the areas on the basis of a case by case assessment.
In addition, strictly protected areas may also be areas in which active management sustains or enhances natural processes. In these cases, management activities should be limited to those necessary for the restoration and/or conservation of the habitats and species for whose protection the area has been designated. Instead, activities that interfere with natural processes by not sustaining or enhancing them should not be allowed.
Activities authorised in strictly protected areas should also include those that are necessary for the restoration of the natural values of the areas in question, as well as activities linked to small-scale subsistence resource use for indigenous people, provided that such activities do not interfere significantly with the conservation objectives of the area.

Strictly or strongly protected marine areas already exist in most Member States, sometimes with different designations and with varying degrees of “strictness” (included in the zoning of protected areas, or through designations such as nature reserves, scientific reserves, marine “notake zones”, etc.).

In this context, the European Agency for Climate, Infrastructures and the Environment (CINEA) asked Life IP Marha to organize a synthesis of national experiences on the implementation of strong protection zones. This synthesis will be the subject of a working seminar which aims to present study-cases of implementation of strong protection zones, in order to understand the mechanisms, to discuss the tools used, the methods followed, the scientific and technical work carried out.

If you are interested in this reflection, we invite you to register if you have the possibility to come physically, and to propose a written, poster or oral communication. The conference will also be shared by videoconference. Finally, those whose papers are accepted may be funded to come and present their contribution to the reflection. The contributions may relate to 4 themes:

  • the social and geopolitical context of the implementation of strong protection zones
  • the economic added value of strong protection zones
  • scientific and ecosystem justification for strong protection
  • techniques for the implementation and management of strong protection zones (consultation, communication, legal tools, financing, monitoring, evaluation, control, etc.).

On this conference website, you will find all the necessary elements for registration and for the contribution proposal. Do not hesitate to come back to us for any questions.

The 2022 Platform Meeting will be held on March 22nd - 23th, in La Rochelle, France. The platform meeting will also be broadcasted by videoconference.

On March 24th, at the same place, a regional session will take place with a field trip. All the participants in the European conference can if they wish to participate in the regional session which will be held in French only.