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LIFE IP ‘Atlantic Region DE’ receives award from the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity

The Ministry for Environment, Agriculture, Conservation and Consumer Protection of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (MULNV) informs:

The LIFE Integrated Project (LIFE IP) ‘Atlantic Region DE’ has been officially recognized by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) as ‘Project of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity’. The North Rhine-Westphalian State Secretary for the Environment Dr. Heinrich Bottermann emphasized in his acceptance speech a special feature of this LIFE IP: “With this project, we want to turn the tide in regard to the loss of biodiversity. Sand landscapes are characterized by particularly high biodiversity, but suffer greatly from nutrient inputs. Here, heath and dune landscapes and nutrient-poor grasslands are optimized or restored. At the same time, we also look after nutrient-poor waterbodies with endangered species, such as floating water-plantain, moor frog and natterjack toad.”

Jens Palandt, Head of the Department for Natura 2000 and Protected Areas of the Ministry for the Environment of Lower Saxony, added: “The project is an excellent example of large-scale cooperation across the federal states, the successes of which can be transferred to other regions. The approach of the project across regions and federal states offers the opportunity to make achievements in nature protection visible on the national or biogeographical level."

Cooperation of the federal government, the federal states and regionals as well as local stakeholders

In October 2016, the federal states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony started the LIFE Integrated Project ‘Atlantic Region DE’, which is co-funded by the LIFE Programme of the European Union. In addition to the conceptual approach for harmonizing and improving the implementation of NATURA 2000 in all German federal states of the Atlantic region, this project involves a wide range of stakeholders on site.

The award is granted to projects which are exemplary in their efforts for the conservation of biodiversity. In 2018, a total of 44 projects in North Rhine-Westphalia received the award due to their contribution to the national strategy and the conservation of biodiversity. During the technical evaluation process, the expert jury also considers the multiplication effect, cooperation with other stakeholders, degree of innovation and the long-term nature of the projects. To honour the commitment of all bodies running a project, all projects which received the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity award in 2018 were invited by the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of the Environment to attend the award ceremony of the LIFE IP ‘Atlantic Region DE’.


More information about the LIFE IP ‘Atlantic Region DE’

The first pillar of the LIFE IP ‘Atlantic Region DE’ is the development of an overall concept for the Atlantic region in Germany. The second pillar is the implementation of concrete conservation actions for ten selected species and 15 habitat types of the sandy landscapes. At the European level, the LIFE Programme serves as a funding instrument for such actions. The corresponding grant application was approved by the European Commission on 1 October 2016. The project is the first integrated project in Germany within the LIFE priority area ‘Nature and Biodiversity’. The project budget for the ten-year period amounts to 16.875 million Euro and is subsidized to 60 percent by the European Commission.

In North Rhine-Westphalia, the overall responsibility for the implementation lies with the Ministry of Environment, Agriculture, Conservation and Consumer Protection (MULNV), in Lower Saxony with the Ministry for the Environment of Lower Saxony (MU). The overall coordination of the project as well as the implementation of the concrete actions in North Rhine-Westphalia was assigned to the district government of Münster. The implementation of the LIFE IP is supported by the State Agency for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection (LANUV). In Lower Saxony, the project is coordinated and implemented by the Lower Saxony Water Management, Coastal Defence and Nature Conservation Agency (NLWKN). The actions on site are implemented in cooperation with the lower nature conservation authorities, biological stations, regional forestry offices and nature conservation associations and supported by numerous partners.

In the district of Viersen, several actions are implemented during the first phase of the LIFE IP (October 2016 to March 2019). In spring 2018, for example, trees were removed within the bog area in the ‘Elmpter Schwalmbruch’. In the nature reserve ‘Heidemoore’ in the ‘Brachter Grenzwald’, trees and the grass-covered topsoil were removed in October 2018 to restore open inland dunes and sand heaths with typical vegetation. The resulting open sandy areas provide habitat for dune plants and many animal species, such as sand lizard and smooth snake.

More information about the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity

The United Nations declared the period from 2011 to 2020 as the UN Decade of Biodiversity to counteract the worldwide decline in natural diversity. A broad awareness in our society for the great value of biodiversity is an important prerequisite. By honouring exemplary projects, the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity in Germany draws attention to the value of natural diversity and the opportunities which it offers to us. At the same time, these model projects show how concrete actions for the conservation of biological diversity, its sustainable use or the mediation look in practice.

The awarding of projects is decided upon by an independent expert jury which includes representatives from different social groups. The expert jury meets twice a year. There are no deadlines for participation in the competition. The application takes place via an online form which can be found at

Small volunteer projects as well as large institutionally supported projects are invited to apply.

Further information about the competition and the United Nations Decade can be found at

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