Natura 2000 is the largest network of protected areas in the world, and a testimony to the importance that EU citizens attach to biodiversity. The Natura 2000 Award is a means of raising the awareness of the general public in the EU about the importance of the Natura 2000 network for protecting and enhancing our natural capital. STELLA Consulting is responsible for the selection process for selecting the five winners of this annual Award. Our team of 10 experts is composed of two senior experts, two junior experts and six evaluators. Most of them are specialised in biodiversity and conservation and have excellent experience in Natura 2000.
Each year, winners of the Natura 2000 Award will be selected within a number of different categories. Any entity based in the 28 EU Member States whose activities are directly linked to Natura 2000 (including businesses, authorities, NGOs, volunteers, land owners and educational institutions) is eligible to apply for the Award.
STELLA is responsible for developing the evaluation methodology, applicant guidelines and online application forms for the selection process. The winners are awarded at a biennial Ceremony in Brussels, also organised by STELLA. In addition, STELLA supports local events for the winners to showcase the positive aspects of Natura 2000 that the selected sites provide for the general public in Europe. For more information please visit the Natura 2000 Award website:
2017 marks the 25th anniversary of the Habitats directive and the LIFE programme, both approved on 21st May 1992, and since then successfully contributing to the preservation of our unique European natural heritage. With the adoption of the Habitats directive also the EU Natura 2000 Network was born, which today, together with the sites under the Birds directive, is one of the Europe's most outstanding achievements. In recognition of this the European Commission together with the European Parliament, the Presidency of the European Council and Committee of the Regions declared the 21st May as “European Natura 2000 Day” at a special event in Brussels, organised by STELLA in the prestigious Berlaymont building of the European Commission.
The procurement of research and development (R&D) is an important tool to stimulate innovation. It allows public authorities to steer the development of new solutions directly towards their needs. However, the procurement of R&D remains underused in Europe. To encourage wider implementation across Europe, there is a need to promote the benefits and potential impacts and disseminate good practices of undertaking PCPs and PPIs, especially to public procurers. Addressing this gap is essential for encouraging wider usage of PCP and PPI across Europe.
It is the aim of this contract to promote innovation procurement across the EU MS and to raise awareness of its benefits. The overall objective of this assignment is to promote the impact of PCP and PPI procurement in Europe to procurers of ICT solutions. As leader of this project STELLA is in charge of leading all tasks.
STELLA organised the presentation of the photographic exhibition "My little piece of land" in the premises of DG ENV and DG AGRI, promoted by an opening ceremony with high level speakers. This exhibition offers extraordinary portraits of six farmers that live and work within Natura 2000 sites in Croatia. It shows that the harmonious coexistence of people and nature is still alive today. The farmers’ work depends on the features of Nature – the value of Nature depends on the farmers’ work.
STELLA supported the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Natura 2000 Award winners in organising local events to celebrate the prize and raise awareness about Natura 2000 locally. These events are considered by local stakeholders as an endorsement of their efforts by the EC and extremely useful in promoting positive messages about the winners’ achievements and Natura 2000 in general. STELLA has assisted in implementing several local events, including those held in Spain, Germany, Bulgaria and Latvia.
The Spanish local event was held on the 4th November 2015 and celebrated the Natura 2000 Award presented to SEO/BirdLife, Agencia EFE and BirdLife Europe for the application “Natura 2000 Day”, winner of the 2015 Citizens’ Award. The local event was held on the estate Campo de Montiel (Castilla-La Mancha, Spain). The programme included short speeches, among others, by Mr Daniel Calleja (Director General of DG Environment) and Mr Francisco Martinez (the Spanish Regional Minister of Environment). After the speeches, two endangered birds (Circus aeruginosus) were released after having recovered from injuries in the Recovery Center El Chaparrillo. The event was concluded with an exploratory outing around the estate.
On the 11th October 2015, the NatureFriends Baden-Württemberg e.V. hosted their event for stakeholders and representatives at the local, regional and federal policy level as well as for the EC to celebrate their winning of the Natura 2000 Award in the Communication Category. The local event was held in Metzingen (Baden-Württemberg, Germany). The programme included a walk on one of the Natura 2000 trails in the area of the Swabian Alb, as well as short speeches by Dr. Elsa Nickel (National Ministry for the Environment) and Dr. Ulrich Fiedler, Mayor of Metzingen. The short speeches were alternated with songs of local musicians which gave the event a festive and cheerful atmosphere.
A local event aimed to celebrate the Natura 2000 Award in the Socio-economic benefits category was held on the 4th and 5th of October in Sofia, Ugarchin, Tryavna and Subotkovtzi, Bulgaria. The award was awarded to five Bulgarian non-governmental organisations (BIOSELENA, Association of the Parks in Bulgaria, Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation, WWF -DCP, Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds) and four Swiss organisations (Pro Natura/Friends of the Earth, REDD, BirdLife Switzerland, SAVE Foundation) for the application “For the Balkans and the People”. The event included a high level forum discussion which took place in the Arena di Serdica in Sofia on the topic Business and biodiversity: opportunities for Natura 2000 and speeches were given by key participants such as, Mr Jürgen Müller (Head of cabinet of Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries) and Mrs Ivelina Vassileva (Bulgarian Minister of Environment and Water). The event ended with a visit to a photo exhibition “In the Balkans it is possible” and with a visit of pilot projects supported by the Natura 2000 winners.
On the 1st July 2016, a local event took place in a green area near Riga, Latvia. It was aimed to celebrate the Natura 2000 Award presented to the Nature Concerthall Association (Dabas Koncertzāle) for the application “Nature Concerthall”, winner of the 2016 Communication category. Each year Nature Concerthall selects a specific species as the year’s mascot or hero and the event around it is tailored around it. In 2016, the species chosen was Plecotus auritus, the common brown long-eared bat, one of 16 species of bat found in Latvia. The local event featured several activities such as visits to Natura 2000 sites (example, Ķemeru National Park of bog fields), short speeches by Ms Alda Ozola (Latvian Deputy State Secretary of Environmental Protection) and Mr Kaspars Gerhards (Latvian Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development) and a concert with songs which contained steady, intermittent signals as a reference to the sound waves used by the bats for echolocation. The concert was attended by some 10,000 citizens of all ages and walks of life.
For more information on all the local events held to date, please visit the Natura 2000 Award website.
STELLA and AGRECO assisted the European Commission in evaluating the LIFE+ proposals submitted under the 2012 and 2013 call for proposals. LIFE+ is the EU’s Financial Instrument for the Environment. The general objective of LIFE is to contribute to implementing, updating, and developing EU environmental policy and legislation.
STELLA and AGRECO managed a team of more than 100 experts who evaluated more than 1,000 proposals annually submitted under the calls for proposals for LIFE+ action grants and NGO operating grants. Within the limits allowed by the thematic and national allocation rules of the LIFE+ Regulation, the principle of equal treatment between all proposals was strictly applied, as well as objectivity and confidentiality. The evaluation process included different phases: technical selection, award, eligibility and admissibility, financial selection, and revision. The LIFE+ Committee takes the final decision on which actions are to be co-financed.
STELLA was actively involved within the LIFE Programme for over 12 years. In addition to the evaluation of proposals, we have previously assisted DG Environment in monitoring LIFE projects and organising annual LIFE+ Information sessions in all 27 Member States.
For more information about the LIFE+ Programme, visit the LIFE website.
In collaboration with 12 partners, STELLA has successfully implemented the eEnviPer project, co-financed under the ICT Policy Support Programme (ICT PSP) part of the EU Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) 2007 - 2013. We are proud to announce that the project’s results have been highly appreciated by the European Commission and the project has been promoted as a success story. During the pilot implementation, eEnviPer has not only developed a functioning software, but has also accumulated valuable experience in analysing local legal and operational requirements, as well as adapting the eEnviPer platform to the specific contexts of the permitting authorities involved. As of April 2014, the eEnviPer solution is commercially available.
eEnviPer is a cloud-based e-Government platform for the application, administration and consultation of environmental permits across Europe. By making the environmental permits process more transparent, accessible and efficient, eEnviPer helps to reduce the environmental impact of economic activities with the implementation of a cost-effective environmental permits process.
As a specialised e-Government tool for environmental permits, it benefits all relevant stakeholders:
eEnviPer incorporates proven technology for a cloud-based e-Government solution: it includes workflow management systems, geographic information systems, participation technology and knowledge management functions also used in other commercial and public sector applications.
The eEnviper consortium pilot-tested the existing single multi-purpose cloud platform for providing software as a service in five different European countries (Italy, Greece, Croatia, Serbia and Turkey) exhibiting different institutional settings and e-government contexts between April 2012 and March 2014.
For further details, please visit the eEnviPer website.
The EC has awarded STELLA a new contract for evaluating the economic and environmental benefits and implications deriving from the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries’ convergence with the EU environmental acquis. The six EaP countries (shown in orange on the map) are: Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine.
This is an unusual study: typically, benefit studies estimate the benefits for a country or a region of improving the environment situation in that same country or region. In this study, the goal is to estimate the benefits that the EU would derive from environmental improvements in the six neighbouring EaP countries.
The potential environmental and health benefits - as well as the potential social and economic benefits for the EU - will be quantified using a set of indicators in the following areas:
The kick-off meeting took place on the 2nd of September 2014 and we anticipate presenting the results in mid-March 2015 in a mini-seminar targeted at EU employees who deal with the Eastern Neighbourhood (from the European Commission and European External Action Service), interested representatives of diplomatic corps and other stakeholders.
STELLA is happy to announce that we, as part of a consortium led by Triple E, have been awarded the EC contract to support the implementation of Green Infrastructure in Europe.
Green Infrastructure refers to the spatial structure of natural and semi-natural areas but also other environmental features which enable citizens to benefit from Green Infrastructure’s multiple services. The underlying principle of Green Infrastructure is that the same area of land can frequently offer multiple benefits if its ecosystems are in a healthy state. Green Infrastructure investments are generally characterised by a high level of return over time, provide job opportunities, and can be a cost-effective alternative or be complementary to 'grey' infrastructure and intensive land use change. It therefore serves the interests of both people and nature.
In this new contract, STELLA supports the Commission in implementing new actions in the field of Green Infrastructure, with a particular focus on new knowledge on Green Infrastructure.
Over the past year, STELLA has successfully implemented the Natura 2000 Award project, funded by DG Environment, in partnership with adelphi and ESN. Following the success of the inaugural Award, we are happy to announce that the contract has been renewed for another year, this time with adelphi and Tipik.
As last year, winners of the Natura 2000 Award will be selected from five categories: Conservation; Socio-economic benefits; Communication; Reconciling interests and perceptions; and Cross-border cooperation and networking. A new feature this year is the Public Award during which the general public can vote for their favourite short-listed applications. Businesses, authorities, NGOs, volunteers, land owners and educational institutions from the 28 EU Member States are all eligible to apply for the Award. All details on the Award and how to apply will be posted on the Natura 2000 Award website.
The winners of the 2014 Awards were announced in a high-level Award ceremony held at the Berlaymont in Brussels, on the 21st of May 2014. Janez Potočnik, former European Commissioner for the Environment, participated in the ceremony along with 200 participants from 21 EU Member States, including members of the Award jury, EC officials, finalists’ representatives and other stakeholders. To find out more about the 2014 winners, please click here. Local events are also being held by each of the winners, with the support of STELLA, to further disseminate their achievements and the benefits of Natura 2000 (see the article below).
The objective of this specific contract is to support DG Environment in organising all aspects of the communication, administration, selection process and overall implementation of the Natura 2000 Awards. STELLA is responsible in particular for the evaluation process of the applications in each category, and for organising the Award ceremony as well as local events in the winners' countries.
STELLA Consulting and Corvers have joined forces to implement the European Commission project "Promoting the impacts of PCP and PPI procurement in Europe to procurers of ICT solutions". The core of the project is practical assistance and 12 events and workshops targeted at public procurers organised across the EU over the next three years.
In these three years the STELLA/Corvers team will support key public procurers and policy makers for ICT based solutions across the EU and across different sectors of public interest (such as health, environment, mobility, etc.). The aim is to awaken their interest in undertaking PCP/PPI procurement. We will provide a toolkit and assistance (both individual and through practical workshops) to potential innovation procurers in how to engage in PCP and PPI in terms of designing and implementing the relevant innovation procurement procedures.
In addition, we will actively promote, through social media and outreach activities, the benefits of PCP/PPI.
What is PCP and PPI?
Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) is the procurement of research and development of new innovative solutions before they are commercially available. PCP works in conjunction with PPI.
Public Procurement of Innovative Solutions (PPI) is the procurement of innovative goods or services, typically before they are available on a large scale commercial basis. Public authorities may act as launch customers for these innovative goods or services that may also include conformance testing.
For more information please visit: http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/innovation-procurement