European nature conservation in the spotlight


“While the protection of habitats and species for their intrinsic value must continue, it is clear that this pillar of our biodiversity policy will not be enough to deliver the EU 2020 biodiversity goals”


Warning words from European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potočnik, at a reception hosted by JNCC on behalf of the European Network of Heads of Nature Conservation Agencies (ENCA) in Brussels.ENCA Conference © Amanda Gregory


These words echoed the theme of the 11th ENCA Plenary where the key objective was to gain a greater understanding of how the business sector and biodiversity are interlinked. ENCA, and its constituent nature conservation agencies, also discussed developing a more effective integration of biodiversity and ecosystem services into business decisions and EU policies.


Commenting on the meeting, Marcus Yeo, JNCC Chief Executive and Plenary Chair, said: “Integration of biodiversity and ecosystem services into business and wider policy is a rapidly developing area, and there is a multitude of initiatives underway at both EU and national scales.  All businesses impact biodiversity and ecosystem services in ways that may be beneficial or may be damaging. There is no shortage of opportunities to achieve better integration but there are also many challenges.”


Information exchange, the sharing of knowledge and experience, is one of ENCA’s main strengths and this was a key component of the meeting, with presentations by speakers from the European Commission, the Institute of European Environmental Policy, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the French National Business and Biodiversity Platform. The business sector  perspective was included in presentations by the EU Aggregates and Extraction Industries Association and energy supplier RWE AG, based in Germany.  


European tree frog (Hyla arborea)To facilitate discussion, the Flemish Agency for Nature and Forests showed ENCA members around a successful public-partnership initiative in the Limberg region of Belgium. The project demonstrates how conservation of two species of European Community importance, the European tree frog (Hyla arborea) and bittern (Botaurus stellaris), can be achieved alongside local fish farming businesses.


ENCA has agreed to collate guidance on biodiversity and ecosystem services targets to support businesses, starting with the renewable energy sector.  Each ENCA member agency further agreed to identify a national point of contact for the business sector in order to promote better engagement.  Further details and links to guidance and good practice will be available shortly through the ENCA website.


Changes to the ENCA secretariat

From the beginning of 2013 JNCC will take over as the ENCA secretariat.  JNCC, on behalf of ENCA, thanked the Swiss Federal Office of the Environment (FOEN) for providing an excellent service over the last four-and-a-half years.


About ENCA

The European Network of Heads of Nature Conservation Agencies (ENCA) is an informal network which fosters exchange of information and collaboration amongst its partners, identifies future challenges and offers information and advice to decision-makers in the field of nature conservation and landscape protection. ENCA brings together scientific evidence and knowledge of practical application together with experiences in administration and policy advice in the context of biodiversity and ecosystem goods and services.


The network aims to identify strategic views on relevant issues to nature conservation, share best practice and information and bring these to the attention of the respective national governments. 


Contact File


Amanda Gregory

European Adviser

Tel: +44 (0) 1733 866856