Thursday 3 June 2010

1.6. Is EU nature conservation legislation fit for purpose?

Thursday 3 June 2010 - 09:30 – 11:00

Some of the most important success stories in EU biodiversity policy over the past two decades directly result from the application of the Birds and Habitats Directives, especially Natura 2000, which is the largest co-ordinated international network of protected areas in the world. Given that the establishment of Natura 2000 is now largely complete there is a risk that the job will now be considered done. Yet most species and habitats of EU conservation concern protected by EU nature directives still have an unfavourable status.

Why does this situation still persist? This session will evaluate the role of EU nature legislation and Natura 2000 in delivering on biodiversity goals. Does the current approach under the Birds and Habitats Directive work and is it fit for purpose to face the challenges for 2020 and beyond? Finally, the session will consider the key goals and priorities for nature conservation in the context of setting biodiversity targets for 2020 and on how these can best be achieved.

Moderators:

  • Åsa Norrman, Nature Director, Swedish Ministry of the Environment

2.6. Water and biodiversity

Thursday 3 June 2010 - 09:30 – 11:00

EU water policy seeks to increase the resilience of biodiversity and ecosystems by balancing sustainable water use with the long-term protection of available resources. This session will highlight the intrinsic links between water and biodiversity, beginning with a presentation of EU Water policy, with a particular emphasis on land use and land management, which is essential for ensuring water of sufficient quantity and quality. This will be followed by a demonstration of the vital role played by water for animals and plants – 40% of Natura 2000 sites contain freshwater habitats, and many more terrestrial habitats are water-dependent. A final presentation will examine the projected effects of climate change on biodiversity, with a particular focus on water stress, using examples from different regions around Europe.

3.6. Nature's role in climate change

Thursday 3 June 2010 - 09:30 – 11:00

Ecosystems have an essential role in regulating the climate system. Ecosystem feedbacks have the potential to either accelerate or slow global warming. For example, terrestrial and marine ecosystems currently absorb more than half of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and have thus limited climate change. However, ecosystems' capacity to provide this vital climate regulating service is weakening due to their degradation and loss of biodiversity. Healthy resilient ecosystems have a greater potential to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Investing in nature is therefore vital to control climate change. In addition ecosystem based approaches to adaptation and mitigation are often cheaper than technical solutions, are ready for immediate use and provide other benefits as they contribute also to reducing poverty and conserving biodiversity.

The session will showcase practical examples of ecosystem-based adaptation and mitigation and provide information on ecosystem feedbacks in the climate system.

1.7. Post 2010 targets: What do we do next? Part I – General audience

Thursday 3 June 2010 - 11:30 – 13:00

After the failure to reach the 2010 targets, crucial decisions are now needed on how to tackle the biodiversity crisis in the EU and beyond. A post-2010 global framework for biodiversity must be agreed at the 10th Conference of Parties to the UN Biodiversity Convention in October in Nagoya, Japan.

The Commission's January 2010 Communication "Options for an EU vision and target for biodiversity beyond 2010" identifies the issues at stake for the EU, and maps the way towards ambitious EU goals. This session will air views on what elements and milestones an EU post-2010 biodiversity policy should contain to deliver effectively on biodiversity protection at both EU and international levels.

2.7. Invasive species

Thursday 3 June 2010 - 11:30 – 13:00

Invasive species (or invasive alien species, IAS) are the second biggest threat to biodiversity on a global level, just after habitat destruction and deterioration. Invasive species are those that have been spread by humans, intentionally or unintentionally, to areas outside their original range, and which there become a threat to the existing biodiversity and/or to economic interests. Climate change will probably increase this problem.

The European Commission is currently working on an EU policy to combat invasive species, built on the internationally accepted 'hierarchy' of prevention, early detection, eradication, and management.

This session will start off by presenting the background to the problem, including examples of damage caused by invasive species in various ecosystems around the world. It will then present ways in which the challenge has been dealt with in several countries. Finally the ongoing work to develop an EU strategy will be discussed.

3.7. Linking biodiversity to food security

Thursday 3 June 2010 - 11:30 – 13:00

Around 75% of the world's poor live in rural areas, and their survival depends on the state of biodiversity and the productivity of ecosystems. Conserving and using biodiversity sustainably is therefore key to feeding at least 1 billion people in developing countries. This session will look at agrobiodiversity, which is developed and safeguarded by farmers, forest workers, fishermen and indigenous peoples throughout the world and forms the basis of the agricultural food chain. But agricultural biodiversity is increasingly threatened: according to the FAO, just twelve crops and fourteen animal species now provide most of the world’s food. This session will explore the role of agricultural biodiversity and its contribution to food- and livelihood security, and will also showcase a number of biodiversity projects supported by EU development aid.

1.8. Sustaining life on earth: Livelihoods and biodiversity

Thursday 3 June 2010 - 14:30 – 16:00

EU and international biodiversity policy is based on the findings of scientific research into the present and future status and use of biodiversity and ecosystem services.  In this session scientists will present ideas and concepts inspired by three international biodiversity cooperation projects funded under the EU's 7th Framework RTD Programme (FP7).

The common aim of the  projects is to help improve sustainable livelihoods and lifestyles and reduce their vulnerability, while conserving and husbanding biodiversity and securing income for marginal rural areas.

The projects are targeted at better understanding and dealing with conflicts over multifunctional uses and conservation of ecosystems and their services. They are intended to contribute to the development of policy instruments and tools for conflict resolution.

The discussion following the presentations will focus on using these ideas both in Europe and internationally  to reconnect human activities with biodiversity.

PALMS: Tropical forests harbour thousands of useful plants that are harvested and used in subsistence economies or traded in local, regional or international markets. The project studies the effect of extraction and trade of palms on forests in the western Amazon, the Andes and the Pacific lowlands. Positive and negative policies in relation to resilience of ecosystems will be identified and used to propose sustainable policies.
 
ALARM while finished in March 2009, its legacy encompasses many new activities. One originated from the transfer of some of the ALARM approaches to the study of ecosystem services in South-East Asian irrigated rice systems, already started during the project in close interaction with the IRRI (International Rice Research Institute) in the Philippines. The project LEGATO will study a set of services: a) Provisioning: nutrient cycling & crop production; b) Regulating: biocontrol & pollination; c) Cultural: cultural identity & aesthetics in landscapes in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia.
 
LiveDiverse seeks to develop new knowledge on the interaction between livelihoods and biodiversity within the riparian and aquatic contexts. The project involves four case study areas (Costa Rica, India, South Africa and Vietnam). Significant emphasis is placed on the need to engage with a range of social groups and their representatives (governmental and non-governmental) throughout the research activities.

2.8. Urban Biodiversity: Local Solutions to Global Challenges

Thursday 3 June 2010 - 14:30 – 16:00

This session will highlight the importance of sustainable urban biodiversity management, outlining the major threats to urban biodiversity and showcasing emerging good practices around the world. Urban biodiversity is an emerging field, and this session will highlight a number of initiatives to help local governments engage in this important issue.  The audience will be introduced to a number of projects and initiatives, such as Local Action for Biodiversity (LAB),  a global initiative coordinated and managed by ICLEI, where cities undergo an intensive three-year process of enhancing their biodiversity management; the Local Government Biodiversity Roadmap, leading towards the City Summit at the COP10 in Nagoya in October;  as well as the European Capitals of Biodiversity competition, co-financed by  the EU LIFE+ programme and aiming at finding the European cities with the best biodiversity management.

In partnership with ICLEI

 

Moderators:

  • Peter Defranceschi, Project Officer, Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), Brussels Office

3.8. Agricultural land use and biodiversity

Thursday 3 June 2010 - 14:30 – 16:00

The pressures intensive agriculture exerts on the environment are well known; less widely known, but no less worthy of note, are the benefits for biodiversity of many farming systems. Traditional agricultural practices gave rise to diverse biotopes supporting a diversity of flora and fauna. Preserving these biodiversity values of agricultural landscapes requires continued human intervention applying appropriate land management. However, as a result of technological and structural changes, farming practices favouring biodiversity and habitats have become less competitive and are, therefore, under risk of being abandoned. This session examines the importance of High Nature Value farming systems and appropriate land management in intensive agricultural areas, showing how existing policy solutions like the agri-environment measure enhance biodiversity by supporting appropriate management practices and reinserting natural elements in intensive farming areas. As well as ensuring benefits for biodiversity, agri-environment measures have positive impacts on water quality, soil erosion, climate change mitigation and so on by strengthening the overall quality of agricultural ecosystems. Debate will also be invited on what is needed to secure a lasting and comprehensive protection of biodiversity via these farming systems.

Post -2010 targets – Part II: Stakeholder session 1

Stakeholders

Thursday 3 June 2010 - 14:30 – 16:00

Side session

This will be a formal stakeholder consultation in closed session (with specific registration) to hear the views of Member States and a very wide range of stakeholders on how to construct the EU's post-2010 biodiversity policy. The input received will be taken into account by the Commission in shaping the EU Biodiversity Strategy to be adopted by the end of 2010. It will also contribute to the negotiations on the future international biodiversity framework.

Interested in participating in stakeholder discussions on the development of a strategy for EU biodiversity to 2020? Please read the attached document:

1.9 Green infrastructure

Thursday 3 June 2010 - 16:30 – 18:00

Green infrastructure aims at strengthening ecosystems through better coordination of policies and planning. It combines natural and man-made, rural and urban elements, encompassing ecological networks and including elements such as green bridges, floodplain restoration and flood-retention facilities which demonstrate the advantages of nature-based solutions over purely technical ones.

Whilst there is a wealth of green infrastructure initiatives in place or planned, from the local to the international level, these are often not coordinated and thus their full potential is not realised. The European Commission is promoting and supporting exchanges of best practice as a basis for an EU strategy on green infrastructure to be developed after 2010.

The session will start with presentations on the importance and potential of green infrastructure. The speakers will discuss good examples of implementation, and will show in the relevance of investing in green infrastructure and how funding can be achieved. This will be followed by a discussion of how the audience sees society's interest in, and contribution to, the implementation of green infrastructure.

Moderators:

  • Sonja van Renssen, Senior Reporter, ENDS Europe

2.9. Biodiversity and meat consumption

Thursday 3 June 2010 - 16:30 – 18:00

Livestock rearing has an impact on valuable habitats and puts biodiversity and sustainable land use under pressure. The ongoing rise in meat consumption around the world is increasing these harmful effects. It is predicted that our current global meat consumption of around 280 million tons per year would double by 2050 due to growing population and higher incomes. This increase has been nourished by the proliferation of concentrated factory farms, with some 80 percent of growth in the livestock sector coming from industrial production systems that consume vast amounts of feed and energy and may lead to direct competition for scarce land, water and other natural resources.

At a time when grazing land and feed crop production occupies 30 percent of the land surface of the planet, this session will look at the myriad side-effects, from loss of biodiversity, deforestation and algae blooms to the acidification of terrestrial ecosystems and emissions of greenhouse gases. The session will examine what the future holds, asking how the demand for meat and thus animal food products can be balanced with the demand for environmental services.

3.9. Local actors: reconciling socio-economic goals and nature conservation

Thursday 3 June 2010 - 16:30 – 18:00

Natura 2000 is seen by some as a block on economic development, including in some cases projects serving environmental goals such as renewable energy, while environmental NGOs and members of the public complain that development activities, including EU co-financed infrastructure, do not take sufficient account of nature protection needs.

This session will draw on lessons from experiences (both good and problematic) from the viewpoint of the various actors involved or concerned by Natura 2000 protection and management on the ground, such as government bodies, developers and economic operators, land-owners, conservation agencies and local/regional authorities. It will consider how potentially conflicting interests can be reconciled in the true spirit of sustainable development and will highlight key approaches and measures to achieve this.
 
Particular attention will be paid to ensuring that EU funds are not used to damage Natura 2000 areas. Furthermore, the session will consider the potential role of new approaches such as integrated management (working with nature).

Filling the knowledge gaps

Thursday 3 June 2010 - 16:30 – 18:00

Side session

In the Salon rouge (in English)

A great deal of information has been gathered since the 2010 target was adopted but significant gaps in knowledge and data remain at all levels. Data gathering, analysis and validation have not followed a comprehensive approach due to the complexity of biodiversity, which requires development of a set of inter-related indicators. In addition, reporting by Member States under the Birds and Habitats Directives has been uneven, as have biodiversity monitoring efforts.

A strategic plan to fill these gaps, in particular on the link between biodiversity, ecosystems and their services, needs to be adopted and supported with appropriate resources. As a first step towards filling this gap, the EU is engaged in a first European ecosystem assessment as part of the European contribution to the 2015 global assessment. At global level, the EU is supporting efforts to establish an Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), which should help build strong consensus by validating the existing scientific evidence and contribute to mainstreaming and integrating biodiversity and ecosystem services into policy making processes.

This session will help to clarify how research can be stepped up to fill the knowledge and data gaps, what action is needed to improve the dialogue between science and policy, and how basic science can be turned into operational measures.

Post -2010 targets – Part II: Stakeholder session 2

Stakeholders

Thursday 3 June 2010 - 16:30 – 18:00

Side session

This will be a formal stakeholder consultation in closed session (with specific registration) to hear the views of Member States and a very wide range of stakeholders on how to construct the EU's post-2010 biodiversity policy. The input received will be taken into account by the Commission in shaping the EU Biodiversity Strategy to be adopted by the end of 2010. It will also contribute to the negotiations on the future international biodiversity framework.

Launch of the Atlas of Biodiversity Risk - in the exhibition area, stand 48

Thursday 3 June 2010 - 18:00 – 19:00

The Atlas of Biodiversity Risk describes and summarises in a comprehensive, easy-to-read and richly illustrated form the major pressures, impacts and risks of biodiversity loss at a global level. The Atlas combines the main outcomes of the large European research project ALARM with some core results of numerous other research networks.