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Evidence‐based Improvements in the Birds and Habitats Directives Implementation: a systematic review (E-BIND)


Evidence‐based Improvements in the Birds and Habitats Directives Implementation: a systematic review (E-BIND)

The European Birds and Habitats Directives - jointly referred to as the Nature Directives (ND) – are central regulatory instruments to achieve the EU Biodiversity Strategy’s main target: ‘halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU and help stop global biodiversity loss by 2020’. A recent evaluation by the European Commission has concluded that while the ND remain highly relevant, their implementation needs to be improved to successfully achieve sought objectives. The project Evidence‐based improvements in the Birds and Habitats Directives (BHD) implementation: a systematic review (E-BIND) responds to this need by gathering evidence and developing recommendations for key stakeholders on how to better use scientific knowledge and networks to more effectively implement the Directives.


The European Nature Directives provide a comprehensive legal protection regime for species that are rare and threatened and habitats of value across the EU and therewith are crucial to achieving the EU Biodiversity Strategy's objective to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU. In 2016, the Commission concluded a comprehensive evaluation of the Directives – a so-called 'Fitness Check' –and highlighted that while both are still fit for purpose, improvements are needed regarding effectiveness and efficiency and in working in partnership with different stakeholder communities in the Member States and across EU in order to deliver practical results on the ground. Amongst the key factors identified underlying these shortcomings were insufficient knowledge and access to data, along with poor stakeholder involvement.  In response to this debate and based on the overall findings of the Fitness Check, the Commission developed an Action Plan to improve implementation, coherence with socio-economic objectives and engagement with national, regional and local authorities, stakeholders and citizens.

Objectives and approach

The core objective of E-BIND is to advise the Commission, Member State authorities and other key stakeholders on the better use of scientific knowledge and scientific networks in support more effective implementation of the Nature Directives. This will in turn support Priority A of the Action Plan, and specifically its third action: "Improve knowledge, including through enhanced and more efficient monitoring, and ensure public online access to data necessary for implementing the Directives". The project team will conduct a review of existing evidence and present findings at the science-policy interface to reach policy makers involved in Natura 2000 sites and annex-listed species’ management, local practitioners and scientists from different communities.

Ecologic in E-BIND

Ecologic Institute will be leading the development of online handbooks designed to support an array of actors in improving their implementation of the Nature Directives. Information, insights and lessons learned through the project’s research activities will be synthesised for target stakeholder groups, including e.g. Natura 2000 knowledge and data-providers, scientific networks/community, practitioners, site managers, private sector, etc. The handbooks will also include recommendations to foster an improved use of existing information and databases, stimulate increased coherence, cost-effectiveness and quality of data use and methodologies, and generate solutions for addressing persistent knowledge gaps.

European Commission, Directorate-General Environment (DG Environment)
Wageningen University (Wageningen UR), Netherlands
Milieu, Belgium
July 2018 to December 2020
Project ID
biodiversity, Natura2000, Birds and Habitats Directives, Nature Directives, EU Action Plan, EU Biodiversity Strategy, handbook, Europe