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Headlines Published on 04 June 2007

Title Biodiversity sustainability is high on EU agenda

NET-BIOME is the EU's latest major research initiative targeting the sustainability of biodiversity in the tropical and subtropical regions of the EU. An 11-strong group – comprised of research organisations and regional authorities from the said regions – have joined forces to effectively meet the objective of this ERA-NET Action, by: developing common policies; identifying strategic research priorities; enhancing the collection and exchange of information; and kicking off joint research activities. Europeans face the challenge of protecting the tropical and subtropical regions' biodiversity from the influence of humans. NET-BIOME¬ will be instrumental in guaranteeing that European research complies with global biodiversity standards.

Europe possesses five biodiversity 'hotspots' in the world. Pictured are the crystal turquoise waters of New Caledonia, an overseas department of France.  © Matt+
Europe possesses five biodiversity 'hotspots' in the world. Pictured are the crystal turquoise waters of New Caledonia, an overseas department of France.
Europe possesses five of the 34 biodiversity 'hotspots' of the world. With marine areas that cover more than 10% of the coral reefs and 20% of the lagoons on Earth, the EU also has one of the 15 low-fragmented forests in the world.

Europe is not alone in its fight to overcome environmental challenges. Like many other regions across the globe, Europe is focusing on safeguarding biodiversity from the threats of fragmentation and loss of habitat, introduction of new species, climate change, and budding interactions between human activities and ecosystems.

The EU recognises that not only does biodiversity play a significant role in the world's natural heritage, but it also represents a key asset for the economic, social and cultural development of these regions. Innovative EU R&D programmes target the conservation of the environment, but also the development of the economy.

Under NET-BIOME, Europeans will be able to meet the existing challenges. Key players from the research sector, as well as local authorities from France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom, will work together to ensure NET-BIOME meets its goal: to provide an effective collaboration mechanism to strengthen research coordination and to develop common activities so as to meet the identified needs.

NET-BIOME will focus on five actions: identify and prioritise research areas; improve coordination of EU, national and regional funding; boost access to information; provide more efficient sharing of research infrastructures; develop socioeconomic valorisation of biodiversity; and strengthen training and transregional mobility of researchers.

Another significant factor of NET-BIOME is how European researchers will be able to strengthen collaboration with their peers in international organisations in the field of biodiversity and sustainable development. The end result would be the creation of a joint European programme of transnational research activities on tropical and subtropical diversity.

The NET-BIOME ERA-NET project exemplifies how the EU's outermost regions are taking an active role in forming and coordinating research strategies that will prove beneficial to them and all of Europe.

More information:

  • Environmental research on Europa

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