WWF celebrated four outstanding individuals as Leaders for a Living Planet for their work to preserve key threatened habitats and species in Europe. Stanley Johnson, Henriette Bastrup-Birk, Claus Stuffmann and Hemmo Muntingh are among the key founders of the European Union (EU) Habitats Directive adopted in 1992, considered one of the EU’s strongest pieces of environmental legislation. The award ceremony, which was held in Brussels on 15 December, aimed to celebrate the people and values that led to the creation of such visionary laws for nature protection, and of Natura 2000, the world’s largest protected area network. The directives help secure 27,000 natural sites and their wildlife and ecosystem services. EU Environment Ministers met the following day to adopt conclusions on the Mid-Term Review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy – Europe’s strategy to halt the loss of nature by 2020 – where they reconfirmed the central role of the Nature Directives in bringing biodiversity loss to an end by 2020 and agreed to focus on their effective implementation and enforcement across Europe. Earlier this year a coalition of non-governmental organizations including WWF launched the Nature Alert campaign. This was in response to plans announced by the European Commission to change the Birds and Habitats Directives, a move likely to water down EU legal standards on nature protection. Since then, more than half a million people, 11 Member States, the EU Parliament and the Dutch Parliament have called on the EU to save Europe’s nature laws. The WWF campaign will continue until a decision is taken in 2016.