Natura 2000 is the world's largest coordinated network of protected areas, established by two pieces of EU environmental legislation: the so-called Birds and Habitats Directives. The Natura 2000 network now comprises over 27000 sites across the 28 EU Member States. It covers over million km², more than 18% of the EU terrestrial area and over 4% of the marine area where EU Member States have national jurisdiction. The EU Birds and Habitats Directives and Natura 2000 are the cornerstone of the EU biodiversity policy and the backbone of its Green Infrastructure.
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Under-funding of protected areas is a universal challenge. The UNDP supported GEF financed project “Strengthening Governance and Financial Sustainability of the National Protected Area System” sought to improve the financial sustainability of the Ukraine’s national protected area system. To do this, the project: a) developed a comprehensive national strategy for protected area financing, b) introduced business planning for protected areas and piloted options for PA revenue generation.