30 November 2010The European Commission has just launched an online public consultation to gather views on the next financial instrument for the environment, to succeed LIFE+ in the period 2014-2020. We welcome your opinions on its objectives, priorities and support modalities.This online consultation is one part of a wider public consultation, whose responses will be taken into account in the European Commission's proposal for a new instrument.
We welcome contributions from national, regional and local administrations, environmental stakeholders, the private sector, and the general public. Please participate in this discussion as this is your opportunity to put your views across and help shape the only financial instrument exclusively dedicated to improving the environment.
The consultation is in the form of a series of 19 questions, and you also have the possibility to give your opinions and suggestions. It is open until the end of January 2011.
23 November 2010A forum to discuss the ‘challenges and opportunities for the Galician agro-forestry sector in the light of climatic changes’ was organised recently by the LIFE+ Information & Communication project, Change or Change LIFE (LIFE07 INF/E/000852).
The event, held on 27 October 2010, in the autonomous community of Galicia in northwestern Spain, was attended by Santiago Urquijo, the European Commission’s LIFE Unit representative, climate change experts from the University of Santiago de Compostela, as well as technical project experts.
Participants debated the various socio-economic and environmental impacts of climate change on agro-forestry or agro-waste management. A pilot scheme involving the addition of compost to restore soil organic matter was also discussed. Other issued included conservation agriculture, savings and energy efficiency, the implementation of renewable energies, notably the use of biofuels, because of its potential for energy crops in the region of Galicia.
The one-day event also included a technical visit to a pilot methane plant run by the engineering department of Santiago de Compostela University. The forum concluded the information part of the 2009-2010 LIFE+ project campaign, whose overall goal is to inform agro-forestry stakeholders, educators and society in general on the issue of climate change for the region of Galicia.
Results to date of the various project actions to promote public participation in mitigation and adaptation to climate change have been ‘very positive’ according to the project beneficiary. These have targeted the following:
For further information, visit the project website
16 November 2010Sweden’s second biosphere reserve opened in September 2010, including the Lake Vänern archipelago and the Kinnekulle plateau located to the south and to the west of the country. This initiative was born out of the substantial work that went into the award-winning LIFE+ Nature project (LIFE02 NAT/S/008484). The United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organisation announced earlier in the year that it was adding the roughly 100-square-kilometre “Vänerkulle” site to its network of biosphere reserves. A statement by the UNESCO advisory committee acknowled the “importance of the site in terms of its rich biological diversity”, and the work to involve a broad range of stakeholders and the local community in plans to turn it into a driver for sustainable development in the region.
UNESCO representative Meriem Bouamrane, arriving from Paris to attend the 24-26 September 2010 inauguration weekend, said in her opening address that the UN body was “especially pleased” that there was a funding mechanism in place that included support from both national and local authorities. These included the municipalities of Götene, Mariestad and Lidköping, as well as the Swedish environmental protection agency and the Västra Götaland region.
The initiative was also born out of the substantial work that went into the 2002-07 LIFE+ project to restore the landscapes of the Kinnekulle plateau to their historic function as grazing grounds for cattle and habitats for a number of rare species adapted to the climatic conditions of the limestone and gravel plateau of Kinnekulle, joining the shores of Sweden’s largest lake.
The project (a “Best LIFE nature Project” winner 2009) will live on with the biosphere reserve, according to one of its initiators, Maria Thordarson of the county administrative board of Västra Götaland:
“It is a nature project that has been turned into something larger. The LIFE project has laid the foundation that enabled us to develop a biosphere reserve,” Ms Thordarson told us on the eve of the start of festivities.
For further information on the project, visit the website.
15 November 2010 Following the success of the inaugural edition last November, the second LIFE+ co-funded European Week for Waste Reduction (EWWR - LIFE07 INF/F/000185) will take place from November 20th to November 28th 2010. “EWWR 2.0” promises to be even bigger, with events in 16 EU countries, led by 30 organisers (11 more than last year). To emphasise the importance of the waste reduction message, organisers are calling on the public to “make some noise against waste” by taking part in a “BatucaMob” in one of several locations around Europe at 11:00 am on the opening day of the EWWR. “The BatucaMob”, which mixes the popular “flash mob” concept of direct action with Batucada, a form of Brazilian percussion music, “will be a symbolic and a unified action of people coming together to announce the arrival of the EWWR throughout Europe, by thumping empty waste bins, trash cans and other containers as instruments,” says the EWWR project team.
To find out more about this and other events taking place during the EWWR, visit the project website (available in Catalan, Dutch, English, French, Portuguese and Spanish), or take a look at the official Facebook page, which will provide information about the waste reduction week on a day-to-day basis.
09 November 2010A technical team of the LIFE+ Plant-Net project of Cyprus (LIFE08 NAT/CY/000453) visited LIFE RENEIX (LIFE07 NAT/E/000756) on the Spanish island of Minorca in late October 2010 to exchange knowledge and experiences on plant species protection.
The project team from Cyprus studied the implementation of strategies in Minorca that could also be useful for the protection of plant species in Cyprus. This was enabled by a day of intensive field visits on the island. They were particularly interested in the Minorcan plant micro-reserves, since this is the focus of the LIFE project in Cyprus.
The visit confirmed that although the specific plant species needing protection on Minorca and Cyprus might be different, many of the environmental challenges and potential solutions facing these two Mediterranean islands remain the same. Both project teams found the visit enriching and encouraging for their work to improve the conservation status of priority plant species and habitats of interest on their own island. .