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ESPO Award Will Place Nature Restoration Projects in Europe’s Ports in the Spotlight (Competition Open)

20th March 2023
The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) Awards for this year has the theme ‘Nature Restoration Projects’ in its spotlight. Submissions for the competition are now open.
The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) Awards for this year has the theme ‘Nature Restoration Projects’ in its spotlight. Submissions for the competition are now open. Credit: ESPOsecretariat-twitter

The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) Award on Social Integration of Ports is entering its 15th edition, with the theme “Nature restoration projects in ports benefitting the local community”.

Since ports are often located in or near different precious natural areas, they strive to integrate the protection of biodiversity in all port operations, making it part of their license to operate.

Over the years, ports in Europe have gained extensive experience with sustainable port operations and development. These sustainability efforts in ports are based on respecting and working with nature and habitat requirements already set out in European and national legislation, whilst striving to go beyond regulatory requirements. 

Already in 1996, ESPO published a comprehensive Code of practice on the application and the Bird and Habitats Directive. The Code was developed in close cooperation with the European Commission, and sets out specific guidelines for how ports can work with the Birds and Habitats Directive. 

On top of their traditional role as hub in the supply chain ensuring connectivity and linking Europe with the rest of the world, Europe’s ports are nowadays playing an increasingly important role as suppliers, producers, storing locations or importers of new renewable energies. Ports are at the service of Europe’s economy and society and an essential partner in the race to a net-zero and sustainable European economy and society. 

Given all these new roles and responsibilities, it is more important than ever for ports to find ways to ensure that port development and activities, in particular those linked to achieving the net-zero goals and related energy policies, go hand in hand with the protection and enhancement of natural areas in and around ports.

The ESPO Award 2023 will go to the port managing body which has developed innovative ways to develop these new roles and combine port development with successfully protecting and restoring nature in and around the port area to the benefit of the citizens and local community. The winning project will be a project which can clearly demonstrate how nature protection and restoration efforts can be successfully combined with port development projects. 

Project submissions have to reach the ESPO Secretariat by Friday 7 July 2023 at the latest. The application form and the terms of reference are available on the ESPO Website.

The 15th ESPO Award will be officially handed out during an Award Ceremony and Dinner, which will take place in November 2023 in Brussels.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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