25 November 2009
"Forces in Nature", a short movie made by the DANAH LIFE project (LIFE03 NAT/B/000024) has won first prize in the category, “nature and environmental protection”, at an international military film festival in Bracciano, Italy.
Starring Flemish actor, Carry Goossens, known for his role in a TV series in Flanders, the 16 minute-long film shows how a young recruit is being thought to treat nature cautiously and to care for the environment as an integral part of his military life.
Launched in 2004, DANAH is a nature restoration project focusing on 12 NATURA 2000 military sites in Flanders. The project also provides training to the Belgian military on environment and nature. The award winning film was made in the framework of this initiative, known as "Forces in Nature".
20 November 2009 On 12 November 2009, the EC Delegation in Israel hosted a workshop which brought together close to 70 beneficiaries and stakeholders of EU supported environmental projects, as well as Ministry of Environmental Protection and Foreign Affairs officials.
Eleven of the eighteen projects represented were funded by the LIFE Third Countries Programme. The workshop was an excellent opportunity for participants to receive an overview of a decade of substantial EU-Israeli environmental cooperation in Israel. The opportunity to exchange detailed information, network and forge future partnerships was provided by the presentations and discussions that were held in the four morning working groups on Water, Education, Waste and Biodiversity. Each working group reported back to the plenum in the afternoon.
The workshop concluded with a presentation of EU Environmental Policy and Funding and a question and answer session. The participants expressed great appreciation for the opportunities presented by the workshop and regret that the LIFE Third Countries Programme has come to an end.
17 November 2009 Coillte Teoranta, the Irish Forestry Board, has continued to spread the word about its restoration activities co-funded by LIFE, even after the completion of the latest of its three LIFE Nature projects. PR Manager Angela Wallace is pictured in front of an information panel about LIFE04 NAT/IE/000121 – Restoring raised bogs in Ireland – at the offices of Westmeath County Council in Mullingar. The panel is part of a travelling exhibition about the work of Coillte Teoranta, with a particular focus on the three LIFE projects that it has carried out (LIFE05 NAT/IRL/000182 – Restoring priority woodland habitats in Ireland – and LIFE05 NAT/IRL/008490 – Restoring active blanket bog in Ireland).
“Doing a LIFE project was a great experience,” says Project Manager for the raised bog restoration, Philip Murphy. “Everyone involved really enjoyed it and would be delighted to do another one.”
An in-depth article on the ‘Restoring raised bogs in Ireland’ project can be seen in the forthcoming LIFE Focus publication on Article 17. To read more about the work of Coillte Teoranta visit www.coillte.ie
06 November 2009 The Sustainable Energy Europe initiative has announced the 4th edition of the Sustainable Energy Europe Awards 2010.
The competition is now open for entries from public authorities, private companies, European associations or NGO's, to present one or several of their ongoing projects in the fields of energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, clean transport or bio fuels.
Awards are presented in 5 categories: Sustainable Energy Communities; Market Transformation including Voluntary Commitments; Promotional, Communication and Educational Actions ;Demonstration and Dissemination projects and Cooperation Programmes. The deadline for submitting applications is the 27 November 2009.
The winning projects will be presented their Awards by the Energy Commissioner at a ceremony in Brussels on the 23rd March 2010, during the EU Sustainable Energy Week 2010.
Read more about the application procedure.
05 November 2009 On 26th October 2009, the Spanish Environment Minister, Elena Espinosa, praised the valuable contribution of a Spanish LIFE project to the long-term protection of seabirds. Speaking at its presentation, the Minister hailed the final inventory of the project Important Bird Areas for Seabirds (Marine Ibas) in Spain (LIFE04 NAT/ES/000049) as “an essential tool” for developing targeted conservation policies.
The project, led by SEO/BirdLife - the Spanish Ornithology Society - produced the first complete national inventory of Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in the marine environment anywhere in the world. It identified 42 areas of conservation importance for seabirds, dotted around Spanish waters, covering more than 40 000 km² or 5% of its area. It complemented existing data on land-based IBAs to provide a total picture of the network of IBAs for seabirds.
The Minister highlighted that the inventory was “the scientific key we needed” to enable the quicker and more effective development of a coherent strategy of seabird protection. The Environment Ministry, which supported this LIFE project, is committed to using its findings to create Special Protection Areas for seabirds, extending the Natura 2000 network into the marine environment.
The timing of the report was particularly welcome as it has coincided with the presentation of a draft national law on protection of the marine environment, debates on the common fisheries policy and the priority given to maritime sustainability by the upcoming Spanish Presidency of the EU. The presentation event was covered by the national newspapers ABC and El Mundo.
Taking over four years to compile, the innovative and ambitious study had to overcome the challenges of scale - covering nearly one million square kilometres - the marine environment, and the mobility and movement of the birds. Using more than 300 volunteers and 25 professionals, the team covered an enormous area as well as attaching devices to key bird species - the globally endangered Audouin's Gull (Ichthyaetus audouinii) and Balearic Shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus) - which provided GPS data on their movements.
Altogether, 27 seabird species are found in the project's territories, including 16 which breed there - more of which are to be declared protected species. The president of SEO/BirdLife, Eduardo de Juana, emphasised at the presentation that before this project: “We knew very little about seabirds and assumed that they were fine. Recently, we have found that they are one of the groups of birds facing the most difficult situation.”
The project demonstrated that it is possible to identify IBAs in the marine environment and also some of the birds’ principal threats, including fishing equipment, pollution and wind turbines. It is already being used as an example for other countries looking to carry out a similar process for seabirds, from Greece to France, and could be adapted for other marine animals.
04 November 2009 Central European cartoon channel Minimax has signed up to new animation series My Friend Boo. The series which targets 5-8 year olds follows the journeys of three regular kids who one day bring to life a magical toy called Boo. Boo takes the three young explorers on extraordinary adventures to help them understand some of today’s most important world issues including water conservation, energy and healthy living.
Each thematic strand of the series is produced by independent international experts, school kids from 6 European countries and award winning animators as part of European funded projects. The Water strand is co-funded by the LIFE+ programme as part of the EcoAnimation project, The strand takes Ben, Lucy, Jaq and Boo on three water-themed adventures to help them to understand the importance of water to humans, plants, wildlife and to the world at large. In the three episodes, the kids meet a rather talkative vole called Victoria whose riverbank home has been abandoned by animals and humans because a local factory isn’t taking care of its waste. They visit planet Klexus to see if they can help inhabitants to save water on their planet. And they take a ride down a river bank to look at the “bigger picture” where they see the damage that chemicals and dam-building can have on local wildlife but also what we can do to make the world a better place.
Minimax will broadcast to over 10 million households in Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Moldova, Montenegro and Kosovo from June 2010. The channel will also translate teaching material which accompanies the series into local languages. The deal marks the first agreement with a major European broadcaster for the series but many more are in the pipeline!
The Water strand of My Friend Boo will be launched on World Water Day (22nd of March) next year.
Or contact Siân Hughes