Monika Kotulak is Natura 2000 and Water Policy Officer at CEEweb, coordinating a campaign of support of better implementation of Natura 2000 and Water Framework Directive.
She prepared and contributed to several publications on the topic of Natura 2000 management, the socio-economic benefits of Natura 2000, public participation in the consultation process as well as nature-based solutions (NBS) for water.
The main objective of her work is better enforcement of environmental policies and mainstreaming NBS in various sectors, as well as raising awareness about the benefits for society and the economy that stem from nature.
Natura 2000 in cities
Monika’s presentation will showcase the socio-economic benefits of Natura 2000 focusing on urban areas.
Natura 2000 is a network of protected areas aiming to preserve biodiversity, covering almost a quarter of the European Union territory. Urban Natura 2000 sites can be found in at least 32 EU major cities, capitals and in cities with over half a million inhabitants in Europe, 16 are capital cities – over half of Europe’s capitals harbour one or more Natura 2000 sites.
Natura 2000 in cities and surroundings can provide multiple socio-economic benefits. Like other natural areas, they increase overall quality of life, help absorb air pollution and traffic noise, create shade and ventilation corridors, help absorb storm water and reduce surface run-offs. Natura 2000 areas however also guarantee high biodiversity, hosting a great variety of species and habitats, some of which are rare and threatened on a European scale. Those sites are providing a unique opportunity for leisure, awareness raising and educational activities. Having natural areas close by increases the concern of urban inhabitants for nature conservation, essential for halting biodiversity loss.