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DEVELOPMENT OF AN OVERALL CONCEPT FOR THE ATLANTIC REGION
Federal platform for the Atlantic region

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The Atlantic Region in Germany © Bezirksregierung Münster

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One component of the LIFE IP is the development of an overall concept for the German Atlantic region to improve the conservation status of all non-marine species and habitats. A large part (about 80 percent) of the Atlantic region lies within the federal states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony, and thus within the project region of the LIFE IP; but also Bremen, Hamburg, Saxony-Anhalt and Schleswig-Holstein are home to a variety of valuable habitats and species. In order to turn the tide at the national level, the LIFE IP therefore provides a platform for the necessary collaboration of all federal states in the Atlantic region. This federal platform "Atlantic Region" includes representatives of the environmental ministries and / or technical authorities of the federal states belonging to the Atlantic region as well as of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN). The aim is to coordinate and define the strategy for the development of the methodological-conceptual approach to the implementation of the Prioritized Action Framework (PAF) and the EU Biodiversity Strategy in the German Atlantic Region. The platform provides the basis for mutual information and the coordination of planned and necessary measures of the respective federal states. In addition, it may serve the federal states to exchange information and experiences with regard to the Habitats Directive, Natura 2000 and general aspects of preserving biological diversity. The basis for the so-called "overall concept" is the German report on the Habitats Directive and the reports of the federal states on which this is based. Building on that, the need for action is to be derived systematically. An accompanying research and development project of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) supports this component.

On June 6, the federal platform for the Atlantic region met for the first time, hosted by the Agency for Environment and Energy (BUE) in Hamburg. In addition to members of the LIFE IP (Bezirksregierung Münster, LANUV, NLWKN), the Ministry for Energy, Agriculture, Environment, Nature and Digitalization (MELUND) of Schleswig-Holstein, the BUE Hamburg, the BfN and the Planning Office for Applied Nature Conservation PAN GmbH (which is the contractor of the project-accompanying R & D project "Development of proposals to improve the conservation status of Natura 2000 habitat types and species") were represented. First, information was provided on the current status of the LIFE IP. Subsequently, the project-accompanying R & D project was presented by BfN and PAN. A special focus of the analysis of the R & D project is the handling of the subjects of protection which either are expected to remain permanently in a bad conservation status or which will be permanently dependent on management measures. In addition, the concept of the so-called "low hanging fruits" was presented and discussed. These are those subjects of protection for which the highest possible effects or a quick improvement in conservation status are expected with relatively little effort. The focus of the meeting then was on a concrete exchange about the conservation status of the focus habitat types and species of the LIFE IP. On the basis of current data, the evaluations of the individual federal states were discussed. In addition to a general exchange on main areas of distribution, area sizes and conservation status in the respective countries, general problems regarding the implementation of Natura 2000 also were discussed. In addition, more transnational cooperation was agreed upon to identify both responsibilities, needs for action and potentials for particular habitat types and species.

The next meeting of the federal platform for the Atlantic region is to take place in spring 2019 – following the evaluation conferences of the ministries of the federal states and their specialized agencies for reconciling the report on the Habitats Directive.

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