Session 1.4

Business as (un)usual? Financing nature with cohesion funds beyond 2020

In partnership with DG REGIO

The health of economies depends on the state of the natural environment. Protecting nature and conserving biodiversity provides a wide range of benefits, such as reducing urban heat island effects, providing water retention or recreation. Cohesion policy has recognized these benefits by investing billions of euros for conserving nature and biodiversity over the years. For the 2014-2020 period, it earmarked almost four billion euros for this purpose. The funding has helped prepare Natura 2000 management plans, restore green infrastructure, improve the status of freshwater and non-agricultural habitats and improve the overall quality of life of EU citizens.

To protect, conserve and enhance the EU's natural capital is also one of the objectives of the European Green Deal. All EU actions and policies will have to contribute to the Green Deal’s objectives. This workshop will debate how cohesion funds could play a part in this new framework. It will encourage participants to share their ideas and proposals for preparing the next funding period, asking for example, Are we getting our nature and biodiversity funding priorities right? and ‘What lessons can we draw from the experience?’

Speakers:

Joanna Drake, Deputy Director-General, Directorate General for Environment, European Commission

Sander Happaerts, Policy Analyst, Smart and Sustainable Growth, Directorate- General for Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission