Whilst the value of dune and related coastal habitats is widely recognised, and several LIFE-projects are and have been focusing on coastal management and restoration, the overall condition of European coastal habitats is still grave. This is the conclusion of the EU ‘State of Nature’ report published in 2015 using information submitted by Member States through the Habitats Directive Article 17 process. Since the start of the reporting by the European Environmental Agency on the conservation status of habitats, coastal habitats continued to show the lowest percentage with a favourable conservation status of all habitat groups. Whilst 75% of all habitats (even within each biogeographical region) should be in favourable conservation status, for dune habitats this is still less than 8%. In this doubtful top position dunes are followed by coastal habitats in general.
Since its creation in 1989, EUCC has been involved in networking and lobby for coastal habitat conservation through numerous studies, workshops, conferences, supporting many LIFE-projects etc. We have been involved in workshops as a preparation to the EU-Biogeographic Seminars focusing on Atlantic habitats. In the framework of the 2nd Atlantic Biogeographic Seminar, 25-27 October 2016 in Ennistymon, Ireland, a workshop on dunes and estuaries was held. This resulted into a European Roadmap for conservation of coastal dune habitats by knowledge exchange and networking. For the period 2018-2019 EUCC aims to contribute to the EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 by supporting the implementation of the European Roadmap.
Our main objective is to foster knowledge exchange on European coastal ecosystems and to bring knowledge on and good practice towards the conservation of coastal habitats in the Atlantic, Baltic and Continental Biogeographic Region process. EUCC is planning to pay special attention to Invasive Alien Species as one the most acute problems for dune habitat biodiversity. Since 2004, EUCC has paid significant attention to developing and implementing adaptation strategy at European, national and local levels, and these activities will continue and intensify in the future. They include measures necessary for living with the effects of the environmental impacts of ocean warming and acidification and its negative impacts on coastal and marine ecosystems; accelerated sea level rise, increasing frequency and intensity of storms, tidal surges and flooding, each of which result in coastal erosion and affect poorly designed coastal defence strategies.
EUCC strongly supports the development of EU climate change policy regarding mitigation and adaptation. Because EUCC has extensive knowledge in mitigation and adaptation in coastal and marine zones, we have and will continue to contribute in the areas of biodiversity, tourism, regional planning for ICM and MSP, and offshore wind and ocean energy.