On 14 March 2022; the Policy Learning Platform organised the first day of its Policy learning week. The focus was on Environment and resource efficiency and throughout the day we organised different standalone sessions.
During the first session of the week, we invited two keynote speakers, Claude Turmes, Minister for Energy and Spatial Planning in Luxembourg and Elvira Uyarra, Professor of Innovation Studies at the University of Manchester. They shared with us their views on Europe’s performance in tackling today’s grand challenges, as well as the role regions and cities can play in achieving impact on the ground.
Ask an Expert
During this session, our experts Astrid Severin and Magda Michalikova answered some of the questions sent by the community members on topics that are high on the political agenda of policymakers: green public procurement, habitats and ecosystems, digitalisation of cultural heritage…they mentioned several good practices from Interreg Europe projects and other Policy Learning Platform resources that can be of inspiration for many organisations across Europe, daily involved in delivering policies in those fields. All the sources of information are available in this hand-out document.
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Workshop on preserving and restoring ecosystems and biodiversity
The European Green Deal (EGD) underlines that eco-systems provide essential services such as food, freshwater, clean air, or shelter. They mitigate natural disasters, pests and diseases and help to regulate the climate. However, in the context of the global biodiversity crisis and degradation of ecosystems services, the EGD is calling for urgent action to preserve and restore ecosystems and biodiversity. The EU has launched the Biodiversity strategy for 2030 as a comprehensive, ambitious, and long-term plan to protect nature and reverse the degradation of ecosystems. The strategy aims to put Europe's biodiversity on a path to recovery by 2030 and contains specific actions and commitments. Moreover, the European Commission has been developing a set of binding targets and timelines set to be introduced in the near future.
The online workshop presented examples of best practices across the EU that served as an inspiration to local and regional authorities. Two main topics were covered by the workshop – restoration and conservation of ecosystems and ecosystem services: bats and pollinators.
01:22:50 Keynote Speech by Vujadin Kovacevic on "EU actions to reverse pollinator decline"
In his keynote speech, Nigel Dudley from IEEP talked about the concept of biodiversity footprint, which can contribute to the better integration of biodiversity protection and restoration into public and business decision-making. The biodiversity footprint can be used in several different ways, for example as a tool to measure and report the impact on biodiversity, or to raise awareness. A second keynote speech was delivered by Vujadin Kovacevic from DG ENV of the European Commission. His speech covered different EU initiatives to reverse pollinator decline. These include for example the
- Species action plans for EU pollinators, which address land use, agriculture, invasive alien species and use of pesticides,
- EU Pollinator Monitoring Scheme that improves the knowledge on state of pollinators, or
- EU Pollinator Information Hive, which covers all the available information in the EU, including guidelines and educational materials.
The first session on restoration and conservation of eco-systems featured presentations on the restoration of the river Cagne in France, the Romanian example of restoration and management of eco-corridors in the Danube basin mountains and a presentation of the Hungarian MyForest Foundation, which enables community-supported afforestation.
Key takeaways from the first session:
- An adoption of a multidisciplinary approach is important to improve the state of biodiversity.
- Both strategic governance and citizen engagement are key to long-term success.
- The current lack of experts on various aspects of ecology, taxonomy, etc. requires increased efforts in education and life-long learning.
- It is important to consider the spatial planning and strategic planning dimensions for an efficient long-term solution.
- Involve individuals in the capacity of mediators and facilitators.
The second session on ecosystem services: bats and pollinators brought presentations on the installation of bat boxes in the Italian Molise coast, the result-based payment scheme for farmers, who implement measures for the protection of pollinators in Ireland, and the bespoke project from the Netherlands, focused on increasing levels of pollinators and crop pollinations.
Key learnings from the second session:
- Carefully prepare programmes and measures to achieve the desired impact
- Make use of management-based methods
- Ensure there is enough capacity and advisors to guide the action on the ground
- It is important to have the correct seed mixes and substantial knowledge about the species that will pollinate on the specific seeds
- Cost-benefit analysis is a useful starting point for a discussion between different stakeholders
- Municipalities should make use of existing information, guidelines and initiatives when looking to improve their ecosystem services.
- Story on daylighting rivers
- Map of core areas and ecological corridors for large carnivores in the Carpathians
- ALPTREES project by the Interreg Alpine Space programme
- Biodiversity footprints in policy and decision-making: State of play and future opportunities
- Blühbotschafter project
- Biodiversity funding list in Ireland
- Tidy towns funding
- EU guidance on integrating ecosystems and their services into decision-making