The Nature Conservation Agency starts strategic cooperation for the improvement of the nature protection system in Latvia

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In order to improve the nature protection system in Latvia, the Nature Conservation Agency is launching an ambitious multi-annual project “Optimising the governance and management of the Natura 2000 protected areas network in Latvia” (LIFE-IP LatViaNature).

During the project, it is planned to develop innovative approaches to solving topical nature protection issues and to implement the priority action framework of Natura 2000, thus ensuring a favorable conservation status of habitats and species of European Union importance in Latvia. Organizations representing both the public and non-governmental sectors, as well as higher education institutions, have agreed on cooperation for a common goal. The project is planned to be implemented by end of 2028.

The planned activities, involved wide range of experts and cooperation partners are a successful precondition for developing sustainable solutions to ensure improvement of the conservation status of EU priority habitats and species and the conservation of biodiversity. Another challenge for the project is to find ways to adapt to climate change and mitigate its negative effects. In addition, the project will strengthen cooperation between responsible state institutions, scientific institutions, non-governmental organizations and companies.

Andrejs Svilāns, Director General of the Agency: “LIFE-IP LatViaNature is the most ambitious project in the field of nature protection in Latvia so far. Close cooperation with strong partners from the public and non-governmental sectors, as well as higher education institutions, will be the cornerstone of a science- and practice-based approach to nature conservation, especially in the biodiversity sector. Preserving natural values ​​and restoring habitats is an important contribution to ecosystem services, while contributing to climate change mitigation. In turn, the management of smart natural capital is the basis not only for the development of a sustainable economy, but also for the existence of a quality living environment and a healthy society. ”

Each EU Member State has the opportunity to implement a total of three integrated projects co-financed by the LIFE program. “This will be the second integrated project for Latvia, and I am really pleased that this time the activities to be implemented in the nature sector have received support,” says A.Svilāns.

The project has selected three pilot themes – protected grasslands of EU importance, protected forests of EU importance and restriction of invasive or alien species.

The LIFE-IP LatViaNature project will be implemented by the Nature Conservation Agency in cooperation with partners – the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, four universities – the University of Latvia, Daugavpils University, The Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies, and Vidzeme University of Applied Sciences, as well as the Latvian Rural Consultation and Education Center, JSC “Latvian State Forests”, and two NGOs: the Latvian Fund for Nature and the World Wide Fund for Nature in Latvia. The project will strengthen the capacity of the organizations involved and promote the involvement and understanding of stakeholders, in particular private landowners, on nature protection, raise public awareness and knowledge of nature protection issues and promote the involvement of volunteers in biodiversity conservation.

LIFE-IP LatViaNature is implemented with the financial support of the European Union LIFE Environment Program and the State Regional Development Agency Latvian Environmental Protection Fund. The total budget of the project is 19.49 million euros, of which 60% is EU funding.

LIFE-IP LatViaNature is an Integrated Project of the EU LIFE Programme, the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate actions in the European Union. Integrated projects are characterized by a multidisciplinary approach, a long-term vision, a wide range of partners involved and a wide geographical coverage. The main goal of an integrated project is the full implementation of the specific strategy or action plan, involving the sectors and stakeholders relevant to the project goal.

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