The Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructure (Ministère du Développement durable et des Infrastructures) is responsible for policies related to transport, public works, environment and regional planning. Sectoral policy decisions should be in line with the principles of sustainable development and consistent with the priorities and objectives set out in the Second National Plan for Sustainable Development (Gouvernement du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, n.d.). In order to implement a responsible and sustainable spatial planning policy, priority should be given to regional and decentralized developments by promoting proximity between housing, work, supply, leisure and recreation for a better quality of life (ibid.).

  • The National Nature Protection Plan (Plan national concernant la protection de la nature 2017-2021, PNPN2) has been updated in 2017. Priority measures target five sectors: agriculture, forestry, water management, urban planning and land use planning. The first part of the PNPN2 is a national biodiversity strategy which is in line with the EU Biodiversity Strategy and therefore includes the aim of implementing Green Infrastructure and restoring ecosystems and their services, in particular wetlands, valuable structured semi-open landscapes, extensive grasslands, heathland and dry grasslands. Land use and fragmentation is to be significantly reduced by integrating biodiversity concepts into urban and regional planning and by promoting the concept of GI and its potential to deliver multiple services to urban areas and their inhabitants. GI is described at different scales and includes all the different building blocks. The multiple benefits of GI as well as its cost-effectiveness are emphasised.

As Luxembourg is the most fragmented country in Europe, the PNPN2 mentions that a network of GI should be created to improve the connectivity of Natura 2000 and other nature areas and to ensure the delivery of ecosystem services. Priority bottlenecks for the continuity of the ecological network should be resolved, e.g. creating wildlife corridors across major roads and ensuring migration of aquatic species by restoring watercourses and by mitigating technical works.

GI is seen as an important measure for climate adaptation, mainly by conserving biodiversity and essential ecological and landscape elements, thereby restoring resilience of ecosystems and conserving climatic refuges. The Plan further mentions that GI should be promoted instead of grey infrastructure for flood protection, mainly by restoring wetlands.

The Plan foresees that an interdepartmental group regarding biodiversity, public works and spatial planning will be created in order to oversee the large-scale implementation of GI (Ministère du Développement durable et des Infrastructures, Département de l’Environnement, 2017).  

  • The Landscape Plan (Plan directeur sectorial “Paysages”seeks to find the balance between socio-economic developments and conservation of natural resources. The main objectives of the Landscape Plan are conservation and development of Luxembourg’s landscapes within the context of the European Landscape Convention. The implementation mechanisms are divided between prescriptions and recommendations. Several prohibitions are formulated for different ‘zones’; multifunctional zones (large collection of landscapes, green zones within urban areas) and priority zones that are part of the ecological network. For example, new constructions cannot have adverse effects on green zones within urban areas and zones that are part of the ecological network cannot be fragmented (but some exceptions are formulated) (Gouvernement du Grand-Duche de Luxembourg, n.d.).
  • Alzette - Ecological valorization of the Alzette's upper valley (02/1999-05/2006): The project consisted of restoration works on a river corridor along the course of the Alzette between the towns of Esch-sur-Alzette and Hesperange. The corridor was intended to be between 50m and 100m wide running along 16 km between the two towns. By the end of the LIFE funding in 2006, the project had partially achieved its objectives, with 41 ha of land purchased, restoration work carried out on over 5 km of the watercourse, and with a further 2.8 km of restoration in the pipeline. 
  • LIFE grassland Luxembourg - Conservation and management of species-rich grasslands by local authorities (06/2014-06/2019): The project focuses on protecting endangered grassland habitats as well as a number of animal species that depend on these habitats within 15 Natura 2000 sites in the western part of the ‘Gutland’ of Luxembourg. These goals will be achieved by strengthening the Natura 2000 network via purchase of grasslands and subsequent restoration and improvement of their conservation status. 
  • LIFE Orchis - Restoration of calcareous grassland in eastern Luxembourg (09/2014 – 08/2019): The project’s main objective centres on securing and restoring all calcareous grasslands that have been known to exist in southeast Luxembourg. This will be achieved by improving the conservation status of grassland habitats through removal of moss and dead biomass; expanding the surface area of target habitats by clearing of shrubs and removing non-native forestation; cross-linking habitat patches through extensification of adjacent farmland; and providing long-term protection through land purchases and management.






The EU Natura 2000 network is at the core of the EU's Green Infrastructure. By early 2016, 27.03% of the national land area of Luxembourg was covered by Natura 2000 (EU average 18.1%), with 18 SPAs designated under the Birds Directive covering 16.1% (EU average 12.3%) and 48 SCIs designated under by the Habitats Directive covering 16.02 % (EU average 13.8%). All SCIs have been designated as SACs under Article 4(4) of the Habitats Directive. In 2015, the Ministry for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure launched a national communication campaign on Natura 2000, with the aim of improving public awareness and acceptance of Natura 2000. The financing of the conservation measures has been carefully framed in an updated Priority Action Framework (PAF) (European Commission, 2017).


In order to reconcile nature conservation and agriculture, the Ministry of Sustainable Development cooperates with the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure that biodiversity and agri-environmental programmes are adapted and coordinated in order to ensure the coherence of the Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-2020 with the objectives of the PNPN (Gouvernement du Grand-Duche de Luxembourg, 2014a).



The PNPN2 presents an indicative overview of the estimated costs of the measures proposed and indicates which funds could be used (pp. 100-107). The following table gives a summary of GI-related measures foreseen by the Plan and the estimated costs over the period 2017-2021:


Financing source

Estimated costs (EUR)

Renaturation of water bodies

Water management fund


Wetland restoration

Environmental protection fund

4.75 million

Restoration of semi-open landscapes and grasslands

Environmental protection fund

10 million

Development and adaptation of management plans, coordination of committees for Natura2000 network

Environmental protection fund

2.3 million

Implementation of conservation measures related to the Natura2000 network

State funds

12.2 million

Designation of protected areas of national interest

Environmental protection fund

0.75 million

Acquisition of land for nature conservation

Environmental protection fund

4.8 million

Restoring ecological continuity of watercourses

Water management fund and other


Building fauna passages in the framework of compensatory measures

Various budget lines


Building the knowledge base on ecosystems and their services

Budget lines related to contracting experts and study costs


Integration of the concept of GI into urban and spatial planning

Budget lines related to contracting experts and study costs




5.1. Best practice/points of excellence

5.2. Challenges/gaps/needs

5.3. Opportunities

5.4. Benefits



The Environment Department of the Ministry for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure launched the development of a methodological guide for the implementation of MAES in Luxembourg at the end of 2013; the final version was delivered in March 2014 by the contractor. Based on this guide, 13 ecosystem services were prioritised for mapping (BISE, undated). The assessment results were published at the end of 2015 (the report ‘Mapping and assessing ecosystems and their services in Luxembourg, Final synthesis report’ is available at: http://catalogue.biodiversity.europa.eu/uploads/document/file/1299/MAES_LUX_Case_Studies_20151218_Updated.pdf)



Becerra-Jurado, G., Philipsen, C. and Kleeschulte, S. (2015). Mapping and assessing ecosystems and their services in Luxembourg. Final synthesis report: http://catalogue.biodiversity.europa.eu/uploads/document/file/1299/MAES_LUX_Case_Studies_20151218_Updated.pdf

BISE (n.d.). MAES-related developments in Luxembourg: http://biodiversity.europa.eu/maes/maes_countries/luxembourg

European Commission (2013). Green Infrastructure (GI) – Enhancing Europe’s Natural Capital. COM(2013) 249 final.

European Commission (2017). The EU Environmental Implementation Review Country Report – Luxembourg. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/eir/pdf/report_lu_en.pdf

LIFE Project Database (n.d.). “LIFE grassland Luxembourg - Conservation and management of species-rich grass-lands by local authorities”. Accessed 05.12.2016: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/project/Projects/index.cfm?fuseaction=search.dspPage&n_proj_id=5020

LIFE Project Database (n.d.). “LIFE Alzette - Ecological valorization of the Alzette's upper valley". Accessed 05.12.2016: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/project/Projects/index.cfm?fuseaction=search.dspPage&n_proj_id=476

LIFE Project Database (n.d.). “Life Orchis - Restoration of calcareous grassland in eastern Luxembourg" Accessed 05.12.2016: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/project/Projects/index.cfm?fuseaction=search.dspPage&n_proj_id=4921

Ministère du Développement durable et des Infrastructures, Département de l’Environnement (2017). Plan National concernant la protection de la nature 2017-2021. http://www.environnement.public.lu/conserv_nature/dossiers/PNPN/PNPN2.pdf

Gouvernement du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg (n.d.). Plan national pour un développement durable. Accessed 7 April 2017: http://www.developpement-durable-infrastructures.public.lu/fr/developpement-durable-infrastructures/plan-national/index.html

Gouvernement du Grand-Duche de Luxembourg (n.d.). Plan sectoriel Paysages. Accessed 28 March 2017: http://www.dat.public.lu/plans_caractere_reglementaire/plans_sectoriels/paysage/PSP_Presentation.pdf

Gouvernement du Grand-Duche de Luxembourg (2014a). Protection de la nature. Accessed 7 April 2017: http://www.developpement-durable-infrastructures.public.lu/fr/environnement/index.html

Gouvernement du Grand-Duche de Luxembourg (2014b). Développement durable et infrastructures. Accessed 7 April 2017: http://www.developpement-durable-infrastructures.public.lu/fr/developpement-durable-infrastructures/index.html