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IMPEL's Green Expert Team Meeting

Date: November 27-28, 2014
Venue: Utrecht, the Netherlands
The main goal of the meeting was to clarify the scope and purpose of projects implemented by the European Union Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law (IMPEL) on nature conservation issues, and to discuss how IMPEL will organise further project activities to achieve its objectives. A further goal of the meeting was to begin to build links between organisations through mutual cooperation and information sharing. The Secretariat of the Themis Network had an opportunity to introduce the network to participants and to open up possibilities for further cooperation under IMPEL's green initiatives.
The IMPEL network is keen to build up a pool of experts on nature conservation and to identify ways to fill implementation gaps in relation to nature conservation directives. This can be done by sharing results and knowledge and by working jointly on projects and carrying out joint inspections. 
The following topics were discussed at the workshop:
  • Strengthening the chain of enforcement, prosecution and verdicts: IMPEL pointed out missing links and provided recommendations for improving the effectiveness throughout the process of inspection and enforcement and for improving the impact of prosecutions and sanctions. Preliminary conclusions from the Green IMPEL Review Initiative in Romania also confirmed this missing link and supported the recommendations.
  • Collaboration between organisations and learning from best practices: IMPEL's international collaboration and enforcement action, which took place in Cyprus, was highlighted as an impressive example of collaboration between NGOs and the police that has been very effective in terms of the number of poachers caught and prosecuted.
  • Implementation gaps: The implementation of the Habitats Directive, the Birds Directive and the EU Timber Regulation is very important. According  to Articles 6.3 and 6.4 of the Habitats Directive, it is very important to exchange information and best practices.