History of IENE
The establishment of IENE in 1996 was originally an initiative of the Road and Hydraulic Engineering Division of the Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management. It was based on the conclusions of the International Symposium on Habitat Fragmentation and Infrastructure that was organised by the Road and Hydraulic Engineering Division, Directorate General of Public Works and Water Management of the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management in the Netherlands in 1995.
During the symposium, 135 participants from more than 25 countries met and discussed the effects of habitat fragmentation caused by infrastructure. The symposium proposed the formation of an international network, IENE, in order to jointly address these issues, share resources and find harmonising solutions to the common problems.
Until June 1998, IENE had been financially supported and coordinated by the Road and Hydraulic Engineering Division in the Netherlands. After that, the coordination was taken over by the Swedish National Road Administration and after additional two years by the Institute of Nature Conservation in Brussels, Belgium, who maintained coordination upon the completion of the COST-341 Action at the IENE conference in 2003. Over 21 countries had been officially affiliated with IENE at this time. In the following years, however, the network remained dormant until in April 2008, when 18 European countries met in the Hungarian city Nyíregyhàza to discuss the needs and possibilities to re-activate the IENE. It was the unanimously conclusion of the participants that there is a need for a new and more active IENE at European level, especially with respect to the ongoing expansion of transport infrastructure in Eastern-European countries and the threat of a climate change. An interim steering committee was formed to establish a new IENE secretariat, update statutes and website and ensure future funding.
The new IENE organisation was officially reactivated at the IENE general assembly in Portugal, April 2009. A new steering committe was established and the general assembly agreed upon a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), setting the basis for the new IENE.