The setting up of networks of sites of great ecological value and in particular of protected areas at local, regional, national and international level is fundamental to the conservation of biological and landscape diversity.
The Pan-European Ecological Network is one of the prime objectives of the Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy, as a means of ensuring the conservation of ecosystems, habitats, species, genetic diversity and landscapes. The Resolution on Biological and Landscape Diversity, approved by the Conference of Ministers in Ã…rhus on 25 June 1998, reaffirms the importance of the Pan-European Ecological Network.
The European Commission LEADER Programme 2000 - 2006 will provide help to local action groups (LAGs) outside government or local authority control. Pilot strategies, inter-area co-operation and networking will be supported. Its section focusing on support for cooperation between rural territories aims to promote the pursuit of joint actions through the funding of technical assistance in the context of inter-territorial and transnational cooperation. Its networking section concerns the exchange of experiences between interested parties in the European Community. At the European level, a "rural territories observatory" piloted by the Commission will guarantee networking at the European level and the operation of the system.