National lists of pSCIs at the biogeographical level are assessed by applying criteria agreed upon in 1997, further adapted based on practical experience in implementation. This work is carried out by the European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity. As it is not possible to establish one single quantitative criterion which is equally valid for all habitat types and species in all situations, the assessment is done on case by case basis, i.e. species by species and habitat type by habitat type per Member State and biogeographical region. During this process all available scientific information is taken into account.
The results of this assessment are discussed in a special forum called a Biogeographical Seminar. The general principles for biogeographical seminars are outlined here. These events are organized by the European Commission usually for each of the regions and involve all Member States of the region concerned. When and where necessary, Biogeographical Seminars are called repeatedly, depending on the progress achieved by the Member States
The Biogeographical seminars are organized as a discussion forum involving all stakeholders: Member States, European Commission, Non-governmental organizations, independent experts, observers from candidate countries and the European Topic Centre for Biological Diversity.
Where there is a need for a specific meeting between the European Commission and a Member State, a bi-lateral meeting is called which follows almost the same procedure as the Bio-geographical seminar. When a Member State has reached sufficient progress in site designation and there are not many questions left to be discussed, further correspondence between the Member State and Commission is carried out via mail.
As there was some uncertainty concerning the application of the Habitats Directive at sea, progress in designating marine sites has been slower than for terrestrial sites. A working group was set up by DG Environment which resulted in the publication of guidelines for marine Natura 2000 sites in 2007 (see section 'Manuals & guidelines').
Updated on 10.02.2017