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» Hungarian Presidency of the Council of EU » Events » Informal Meeting of Nature Directors
Informal Meeting of Nature Directors
 

 The Informal Meeting of Nature Directors has been organised as an official event of the Hungarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The organisers of the event were the Nature Conservation Department of the Hungarian Ministry of Rural Development and the Balaton Uplands (Balaton-felvidéki) National Park Directorate. The meeting was in Balatonfüred, from 7 June to 10 June. The event took place in the Hotel Anna Grand**** Wine & Vital. The hotel is situated in the renovated city centre from where is easy to approach the protected areas and the cultural heritages of the city as well. 

 The plenary sessions started on 8 June. On behalf of the Nature Conservation Department, Ministry of Rural Development, Ms. Rozália Érdiné Szekeres Head of Department opened the meeting. Welcome speeches were given by Ms. Pia Bucella, Director for Nature, Biodiversity and Land Use of the European Commission, Mr. András Rácz Deputy State Secretary for Environment and Nature Conservation, Hungarian Ministry of Rural Development and Mr. István Bóka, Mayor of Balatonfüred. Participants included the Nature Directors of member states (heads of state nature conservation bodies), delegates of the European Commission and NGOs. The total number of the delegates was approximately 110.

 
 
 The event focused on the most recent developments of EU nature conservation policy, including the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, and tasks on the short and medium term related to the implementation of the Birds Directive and Habitats Directive. These topics were presented by the European Commission and experts. Some other related presentations were held by specialists about the results of Hungarian nature conservation, the research recommendations on ecosystem services identified by the European Platform for Biodiversity Research Strategy conference, the economic valuation of ecosystem services, conservation and management of farmland ecosystems, the use of traditional ecological knowledge, the mapping of ecosystems and the “Accessible Sky” agreement.

In addition to the plenary sessions the participants took part in a field visit organised by the Balaton Uplands National Park Directorate. Three sites were visited in the Tihany peninsula: Kiserdő-tető (Little-forest hill), Belső-tó, (Inner lake) and Gejzírmező (Geyser field). Participants also observed European Ground Squirrels (Spermophilus citellus) many of them volunteered to estimate their population numbers.           

The field visit ended in the “Lavender House” visitor centre of the Balaton Uplands National Park Directorate. In the visitor centre an exhibition presented the natural values and special products of all ten Hungarian National Park Directorates.  

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The event included three workshop sessions that concentrated on the topics of financing, green infrastructure and ecosystem services.

Concerning the theme of financing participants expressed their full support to applying Prioritized Action Frameworks as a planning tool during preparations for the 2014-2020 financial framework. Prioritized Action Frameworks may be useful in increasing the transparency of financing for nature conservation and could help in defining nature conservation priorities. The importance of integrating financing needs of nature conservation in all relevant EU financing instruments has been also emphasised. Participants expressed their support to maintaining and possibly expanding instruments currently used (e.g. LIFE+, Natura 2000 payments under EAFRD).

Introducing the concept of green infrastructure has been found important and timely. The facts that the concept builds on existing policy instruments (e.g. Natura 2000, ecological networks, etc.), and it is suitable for integrating several aspects of nature conservation (land use, ecosystem services), etc. have been identified as advantages. In the same time participants underlined that before practical application the elements of green infrastructure and its possible socio-economic functions will need to be defined, and its specific objectives at the different territorial level will need to be set.

In relation to the ecosystem services participants determined what kind of issues arise in the nature conservation decision-making process related to biodiversity and ecosystem services requiring external expertise and how it is possible to improve the knowledge flow. Delegates agreed that in the mapping and assessment of the state of ecosystems and their services a common methodology for data collection and consistency in valuation is needed.

The workshops were followed by a plenary session where Poland presented the nature conservation activities during the upcoming Polish Presidency. After that Mr. Tobiás Salathé from the Ramsar Convention Secretariat handed to Mr. László Balogh director of the Balaton Uplands National Park Directorate the diploma of the newest Ramsar site.  

The meeting was closed by a concert of the Molnár Dixieland Band. The event generally was very useful, the plenary sessions, the workshops and the field trip gave a good opportunity to the participants to discuss the current issues of the nature conservation. According to the feedback given by the delegates the logistical organisation and the professional programmes were both excellent.    

Agenda

Practical information

Field visit

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