LIFE Project Cover Photo

Integrated approach N2000 Delta Nature to catalyse the implementation of the Netherlands Prioritised Action Framework

Reference: LIFE15 IPE/NL/000016 | Acronym: DELTA Nature



The Netherlands has made significant progress towards reaching Natura 2000 network implementation targets. In several wetland Natura 2000 sites, however, challenges remain to achieving objectives. The main problems hampering conservation and restoration of biodiversity nationally are fragmentation, groundwater depletion, eutrophication and shortage of suitable habitat. For wetland Natura 2000 sites in particular, the development of resilient natural areas is also hindered by the disappearance of tidal nature and natural connectivity as well as the decline in meandering in riverine water systems. The disappearance of natural structures facilitating biodiversity and the pressure on Natura 2000 sites from fisheries and other economic activities is also a problem.

Given the density of the country's population, conflicts arise between flood defence and the multifunctional use of public space in wetland Natura 2000 sites. Different sectoral interests are reflected in their management; responsibilities are divided between different stakeholders, each focusing on specific sectoral objectives rather than on jointly achieving all objectives. Dutch delta regions are an example of natural areas that are subject to a complex governance structure, leading to missed opportunities for achieving nature-related objectives alongside economic, water management and flood protection goals.

Seizing these opportunities is urgently needed to achieve national Natura 2000 objectives. In this respect, the Dutch Prioritised Action Framework (PAF) particularly mentions the coupling of tasks related to water safety, freshwater supply, water quality and other functions with the development of nature.


The IPE Deltanatuur project focuses on the implementation of the Dutch PAF and achieving the objectives of the EU Biodiversity Strategy by:

  • Fully implementing the Birds and Habitats Directives and Natura 2000;
  • Strengthening biodiversity by combining nature objectives with other functional and societal objectives; and
  • Strengthening biodiversity by restoring and improving natural processes and dynamics.

This IP will develop and implement an integrated governance approach for optimal coordination of interests in wet Natura 2000 sites. The proposal focuses on removing barriers for Natura 2000 implementation in the Dutch large water areas (the Netherlands delta nature). The plan covers 82% of the total Natura 2000 surface area in the Netherlands.

Specific objectives are to:

  • optimise coordination between governmental bodies and build capacity of beneficiaries;
  • ensure stakeholder involvement from an early phase and cooperate with stakeholders to assess issues hampering Natura 2000 implementation and jointly develop solutions to address these issues;
  • ensure alignment and create synergy between Natura 2000 development and water-related policies;
  • ensure optimal knowledge exchange between stakeholders;
  • develop innovative approaches to achieving Natura 2000 objectives;
  • implement pilot projects/best practices demonstrating the benefits of the governance assessment model, and actively disseminate lessons learned; and
  • coordinate financial resources optimally.

In addition to the IP budget itself, the project will facilitate the coordinated use of over €144million complementary funding from Interreg, (sub)national and private funds.


Expected results:

  • A well-structured integrated governance approach for spatial interventions including better links to the nature objectives of the Dutch delta areas, broadly supported by relevant stakeholders;
  • Strategic capacities built at 23 beneficiaries and stakeholders, ensuring long-term sustainability of project results and actions;
  • Successful demonstration of this integrated approach in pilot projects in areas where tensions between nature, flood protection and economic interests have earlier led to a fragmented approach;
  • Improved conditions for habitats and species;
  • Increased synergy between Natura 2000 development and other executive programmes;
  • Improved transnational cooperation;
  • Capacity of beneficiaries and stakeholders increased to achieve each others objectives and the potential benefits of an integrated approach;
  • Raised public awareness on the natural value of the Dutch delta areas; and
  • Crucial obstacles in cooperation removed, enabling implementation of the Dutch PAF.


Reference: LIFE15 IPE/NL/000016
Acronym: DELTA Nature
Start Date: 01/10/2016
End Date: 30/09/2022
Total Eligible Budget: 17,442,390 €
EU Contribution: 10,465,434 €
Project Location:


Coordinating Beneficiary: Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality
Legal Status: PUBLIC
Address: Bezuidenhoutseweg 73, 2500 EK, Den Haag, Nederland
Contact Person: Chantal van der Linden
Email: Send Email

LIFE Project Map



  • Sensitive and protected areas management
  • Coastal
  • Freshwater


  • flood
  • wetlands ecosystem
  • wetland
  • water resources management
  • coastal management


  • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directive (21.05.1992)
  • Directive 79/409 - Conservation of wild birds (02.04.1979)
  • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020” (03.05.2011)


Name Type
Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality Coordinator
Ministerie van Infrastructuur en Waterstaat, The Netherlands Participant
Staatsbosbeheer, The Netherlands Participant
Nederlandse Vereniging tot Bescherming van Vogels, The Netherlands Participant
Provincie Flevoland, The Netherlands Participant
Waterschap Vechtstromen, The Netherlands Participant
Waterschap Aa en Maas, The Netherlands Participant
Hoogheemraadschap Hollands Noorderkwartier, The Netherlands Participant
Hoogheemraadschap Schieland en Krimpenerwaard, The Netherlands Participant
Hoogheemraadschap De Stichte Rijnlanden, The Netherlands Participant
Gemeente Rotterdam, The Netherlands Participant
EMS Films Holland B.V., The Netherlands Participant
Cascade - Vereniging van zand- en grindproductenten, The Netherlands Participant
Het Zeeuws Landschap, The Netherlands Participant
Stichting ARK, The Netherlands Participant
Stichting Het Wereld Natuur Fonds-Nederland, The Netherlands Participant
Waddenvereninging, The Netherlands Participant
Stichting Landschappen, The Netherlands Participant
Stichting de Natuur en Milieufederaties, The Netherlands Participant
Vereniging tot Behoud van Natuurmonumenten in Nederland, The Netherlands Participant
Provincie Groningen Participant
Waterschap Drents Overijsselse Delta Participant


Type Resource
Project web site Project's website
Video link The New Coast = The Nieuwe Kust / LIFE IP Deltanatuur -