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. Links between the protected sites are necessary and should extend to all categories of protected sites.
Establishing, as far as possible, a common framework for transfrontier or inter-territorial co-operation setting down minimum administration and management standards, and the legal framework applicable to the protected site(s) concerned.
The Contracting Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Rio, 1992) undertook to set up a system of protected areas in order to conserve biological diversity, and to co-operate among themselves to preserve this diversity. The Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy (Sofia, 1995) serves as a European frame of reference for the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The European Biodiversity Strategy stresses the need "to support the establishment of networks of designated areas, particularly the EU NATURA 2000 network, and to provide adequate financial and technical support for their conservation and sustainable use" and "to develop in co-operation with Member States instruments to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity across the territory outside protected areas".
It is desirable to formulate administrative and legal guidelines for transfrontier and inter-territorial co-operation between protected sites.