At this exciting time for EU research and environmental research in particular, I am pleased to present you the first issue of this quarterly newsletter. It provides a good opportunity to showcase EU environmental research as well as informing its readers about programme developments, environmental policies, and forthcoming events and publications to watch out for.
Manuela Soares, Director for Environmental Research
Bringing sustainability and competitiveness together
From the 8th-10th May 2007, Leipzig, Germany will see professionals and researchers of all hues come together for the fourth “Forum for Sustainability”. This year’s theme is “Sustainable Neighbourhood – from Lisbon to Leipzig through Research (L2L): The forum has acquired added significance, since it coincides with the current German presidency of the European Union and its focus on an environmental agenda.
We've come a long way since the first International Polar Year (IPY) of 1882-83. The frostbitten explorers who harpooned themselves a bite to eat have made way for well-prepared researchers in polyester fleece jackets. Polar temperatures are no longer as far below zero as those experienced by 19th century explorers...
Global Change and Ecosystems: how FP6 projects are tackling sustainable development
The Sixth Framework Programme for Research (FP6) which commenced in 2002 contributes to our growing understanding of environmental change and sustainable development. Its thematic sub-priority, "Global Change and Ecosystems" (GCE), brings together international partners from around the world in some 280 projects...
The loss of biodiversity is a concept generally accepted but little understood. Part of the problem is in measuring it. The ALARM project, funded under EU Sixth Framework Programme, proposes an innovative solution, using socio-economic analysis to highlight the anthropogenic threats to biodiversity and the policies we can design to protect it better. To know more about it, please read the article written by the DG Environment's News Alert Service, “Science for Environment Policy” (To subscribe click here)
As we deal with environmental change, the security of our water supply is becoming one of the most important concerns for mankind. Safe drinking water in particular is neither guaranteed nor universal. In the developing world many millions of people still do not have access, and in Europe water networks are under threat from pollutants like endocrine disruptors and waterborne bacteria.
Rapidly rising temperatures in the Arctic mean the Arctic Ocean is likely to be ice-free in the summer by 2060. This will have serious impacts both on the environment and human activities ranging from fisheries to oil and gas production, yet a lack of data means there are still serious gaps in our understanding of the Arctic climate system.
Sustainable development is a difficult concept to understand. Certainly its many components – social, economic, and environmental – make it difficult for the average citizen to fully appreciate its importance. That is the underlying issue that the NATURNET-REDIME project is trying to address, a project funded by the EU as part of the Sixth Framework Programme.
In an increasingly interdependent world, we all face common challenges, like climate change, loss of biodiversity and desertification. The need for a joint effort, for international cooperation, is therefore evident. As concerns research, the EU has already demonstrated the benefits of pan-European collaboration, not least in the area of environment, and with the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), European research is still more open to third countries.
Under a new agreement concluded by the European Union and the United States, scientists and researchers from both continents will be working closer together to more strategically address common environmental challenges.