CDDA data collection 2021

Released on 2020-12-18 by Mette Lund
To: EIONET PCPs and NRCs for Biodiversity
Cc: Eionet National Focal Points

Dear Colleague,

We are writing to inform you of the detailed plans for the nationally designated protected areas (CDDA) annual data collection. CDDA is, as you will know, one of the agreed EIONET core data flows. We hope that this letter will be useful as you organise a programme of work with your network to validate the existing data published by EEA and to provide any new information available by the deadline for deliveries 15 March 2021.

The CDDA reference page

Please visit the CDDA reference page and familiarise yourself with the Reporting guidelines and other material. There is no change to the reporting format or the reporting mechanism for 2021.

Data collection coordination with the World Database on Protected Areas

The past year was a record year of data submissions from you: 38 countries out of 39 Eionet members delivered updated database. We would like to thank you all for the effort.

The contribution from Eionet members to the 2020 evaluation of the Aichi Biodiversity target 11 on protected area coverage amounted to 23% of the land territory and ~8% of the marine territory. The numbers include national designations, Natura 2000 and Emerald sites. As you are probably aware, the Aichi 11 coverage targets were 17% on land and 10% for the marine realm. See also the global scoreboards for Europe at

For the coming year, the 2021 final European CDDA database will as usual be delivered by the EEA on your behalf to the global level, the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) if you allow the EEA to do so.

Regional statistics for marine sites

Within the regions and sub-regions referred to in the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), the Aichi Biodiversity target 11 goal of minimum 10 % coverage of marine protected areas was reached. A recent report from ETC/ICM documents that within EU-27 the marine protected area coverage is now 12 %. This conclusion was possible as you in recent years made an effort to report marine nationally designated areas via the CDDA. The report is available here.

The focus for future analysis will be to prepare overviews for each of the regional seas including statistics from all Eionet as well as EU statistics. To do so, Eionet is kindly requested to keep responding to the CDDA data call with attention to marine designations.


The geographical area of the so-called "other effective area-based conservation measures", OECMs, were included when the Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 was evaluated in 2020. OECMs do not meet the IUCN definition of a protected area but have their own definition adopted in CBD CoP 2018. OECMs should contribute to both coverage targets and ecological representation of nature. OECMs are recognized by the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2030 and are expected to be included in the new global coverage targets. Please consider if some of the sites reported by your country are actually OECMs rather than protected areas. Candidate sites that may meet the OECM definition can be reported using the category B designation type. You may also consider if some areas not previously reported to CDDA, do provide benefits for biodiversity according to the definition and should be included as OECMs.

The 2019 guidelines on recognising OECMs from the IUCN World Commission of Protected Areas as well as their 2020 draft site-level methodology are now available to support your work on OECMs in the coming years.

For marine sites it is relevant for EU Member States to refer to ‘spatial protection measures’ as identified by article 13.4 of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive. These sites can also be reported using the category B designation type.

Ensure to update your Designation types

The Designation types reporting webform is available for your updates at any time. The webform is simple to use, you can add your changes directly on the screen. Instructions and background information on designation types reporting is available from the Designation type reference page.

The Designation type code list includes designation types as reported by your country by 2017 unless you updated the information via the webform already. The code list is used in the automatic QC of your CDDA delivery (field: national designation type). Please ensure that your country’s designation types are up to date before submitting your CDDA 2021 delivery. The EEA's update of the designation types registry is currently not automated. It may take a few days for a new delivery to be processed and visualise online.

The full table may be downloaded from the CDDA dataset download page.


Key issues for the reporting

The cddaId codes

The site code cddaId is the thematic identifier for the CDDA dataset. It is vital that you give all Type 2 records correct cddaIds. The cddaId is identical to the WDPA ID used as the unique identifier by the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA).

The web service for allocation of cddaId for new sites is available at:

The service has been updated with the information from the last year reporting cycle. We kindly ask you to use this service to reserve new codes for your sites. A detailed user guide is available for download at the site code allocation web service page. Please note that the layout of the web page has been changed, compared to the user guide, but the functionality of the page remains the same.

The localId and PSlocalId codes

All Type 1 features and their corresponding Type 2 records must be assigned correct and identical localId and PSlocalId. The localId and PSlocalId are the principal linking elements, which allows Type 1 and Type 2 data to be properly joined.

Calculating majorEcosystemType

If a spatial analysis is used by your country to determine the major ecosystem type of sites, we recommend that you introduce a threshold to reduce the number of marineAndTerrestrial artifact sites. A spatial analysis, using a coastline likely digitised at a different scale than the designated areas, will introduce false marineAndTerrestrial sites.

We recommended considering sites with less than 1% terrestrial ecosystem as fully marine sites and sites with less than 1% marine ecosystem as fully terrestrial. If your country has a complicated coastline, you may consider to manually investigate all sites below a 5% threshold to determine the appropriate major ecosystem type. If in doubt, please consider the Tabular data. Is a site for example to be considered marine, if no marine features are included in the conservation objectives.

Coordinate reference system (CRS) encoding in GML

If your country creates the GML file from a national service, please ensure that the CRS encoding is using 'http' quotation. The correct CRS encoding is e.g., '

Data delivery and automatic QC

When preparing the data delivery, please revise the QC feedback from ETC/BD and automated reports available in your 2020 CDDA collection folder on the Central Data Repository (CDR). Please update and correct, if necessary, your data to the extent possible for the 2021 delivery.

Your quality checked data should be uploaded, after consultation with the National Focal Point, to the CDR by the deadline of 15 March 2021.

Please create a new envelope for the 2021 reporting in the CDR CDDA collection of your country and upload the data.

The delivery should consist of the following parts:

  • Type 1 spatial data (GML format)
  • Type 2 data (XLS or XML format) includes two sections
    • DesignatedArea - includes records with thematic information of each nationally designated area
    • LinkedDataset - includes information about the provided Type 1 datasets and where applicable, also additional information about INSPIRE download services that provide those same spatial datasets.
  • Additional information - any supporting or clarifying information that you think is necessary in order to explain your delivery. Use any format you think will serve the purpose.

You must submit the Type 1 data files as valid GML files. If your country does not have the Type 1 data files available as INSPIRE Protected Sites, you may use your shape files from 2020 reporting as a template, update them, and then convert them to GML files using the conversion tool. Do not upload the shape files to CDR but keep a copy for your own use in the next reporting.

The Type 2 data files are reported as Excel files. The Excel data files are automatically converted to XML files upon upload to CDR.

Alternatively, the Type 2 data files may be uploaded to CDR directly as XML files, valid according to the XML schema available in Data Dictionary at

Partial deliveries to the CDR envelope are not accepted, i.e., it will not be possible to release the envelope if files are missing. All Type 1 and Type 2 data must be present in the envelope.

Please do not upload nested zip files. Nested zip files will not be properly processed.

Only the most recently released and technically accepted envelope will be processed. Data delivered in older envelopes will not enter the European dataset.

After you upload your data, you must ‘Run automatic QA’ function of the CDR envelope. The full list of tests is available in the CDDA reference page. You must use the ‘Run automatic QA’ function at least once before you try the ‘Release the envelope’ function.

You may test the upload of smaller samples of your data in the CDRSandbox. The CDRSandbox is a training and testing environment similar to the real CDR. In CDRSandbox, users can test the delivery process, quality control checks and workflow associated with the different reporting obligations. CDRSandbox can also be used for training of new reporters or during the preparation of data deliveries. More instructions about the use of CDRSandbox is found at the CDDA reference page.

The results of the QC tests will be stored in the Feedback section of the envelope. Please check the QC tests and correct your data if necessary. If the dataset is unfit for release (it contains “blockers”), it will be indicated in the QC feedback. If you try to release an envelope that contains data files with blockers, it will fail, and the envelope will return to Draft status.

Other types of issues identified by the QC tests (“errors”, “warnings”) will not prevent the envelope’s release, but you should revise the issues anyway. See also the Scoring section below.

When successfully released, the envelope enters the Final feedback stage, and the envelope will be locked. In this step, the data processor (ETC/BD) will perform additional checks and decide whether the envelope can be "technically accepted" or they will ask for a correction and redelivery from you ("correction requested").

Only technically accepted envelopes will be harvested and processed into the European dataset. If ETC/BD asks for a correction of your delivery, the detailed reasons will be provided in the envelope as a manual feedback and you will be notified about it if you activated Notifications.

When a delivery is technically accepted, the envelope will be closed. When correction is requested for a delivery, the envelope will also be closed. Any new delivery, including redelivery of corrected data, will require that you create a new envelope.

Scoring criteria

The scoring of the reporting will follow the Eionet core data flows scoring criteria for the Timeliness parameter:

  • Timely delivery 15 March (the deadline)
  • Small delay 15 April (+30 days)
  • Serious delay 16 April (and thereafter)

For the Data Quality parameter, in 2021, the scoring will be the following:

  • Basic test failed: Generation of "blocker" messages during the CDR QC test.
  • Basic test passed: Only "error", "warning" or "ok" messages have been generated.
  • All tests passed: Only "warning" or "ok" messages have been generated.

Helpdesk and support

  • In the case of login problems or any other technical difficulties with Eionet web services, please contact Eionet Helpdesk
  • In the case of questions related to the content of the data requested, please contact CDDA helpdesk. This support is provided by ETC/BD staff.

If the people working directly on the CDDA data delivery in your country are not PCPs, NRCs or nominated CDDA data reporters, please copy this letter to them so that they are aware of the wider context of their work at the European level.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support. We look forward to another successful annual data flow.

Mette Lund - Biodiversity data and information systems
Marek Staron - Technical support for water and biodiversity data flows
European Environment Agency