As part of its work programme, Biodiversa+ aims at setting up a forum for evidence-based policy implementation and training driven by the main question of “how to reach the protection targets of Biodiversity Strategy by 2030?”. This science-based policy forum gathering Biodiversa+ Partners, researchers, relevant national representatives/ actors and policy makers will aim to develop and roll out a training programme addressing the needs and capacity of countries to realistically reach the targets of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, with priority focus on the protection targets. Most notably, it will build capacity to understand and apply relevant criteria/ tools/ standards/ guidelines that will help in the implementation of the Strategy, following the guidance issued by the European Commission.
To co-develop this forum, Biodiversa+ organised on the 3rd of June 2022, an online seminar for Biodiversa+ Partners, with contributions from European Commission services, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and WWF Romenia. Three components that are relevant for the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030, and most notably section 2.1 ‘A Coherent Network of Protected Areas’ where addressed:
- Ecological criteria: focus on areas that are of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services (such as Important Bird Areas (IBAs); Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs); Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs). These areas are characterised by criteria such as ‘threatened biodiversity’, ‘geographically restricted biodiversity’, ‘ecological integrity’, ‘biological processes’, and ‘irreplaceability’;
- Management effectiveness: focus on areas that have clearly identified conservation objectives and measures, that are effectively and equitably managed, and with necessary monitoring and review mechanisms in place (Rapid Assessment and Prioritization of Protected Area Management Tool, RAPPAM; Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool, METT; IUCN Green List of Protected Areas);
- Ecological connectivity: focus on interconnected systems of protected and conserved areas, necessary for the functionality of ecosystems, allowing species to move and therefore ensuring genetic diversity and adaptation to climate change across all biomes and spatial scales (guidelines for conserving connectivity through ecological networks and corridors).
51 participants attended this seminar which was divided into three sections. During a first plenary session, the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 was introduced by Frank Vassen from the DG Environment of the European Commission. This presentation was then followed by a keynote speech of Thomas Brooks, Chief Scientist at IUCN who introduced the topic of ecological criteria and ecological connectivity with a focus on Key Biodiversity Areas(KBAs). Finally, a last keynote speech by Cristian Papp from WWF Romania introduced tools/standards to assess management effectiveness.
During the second session of the meeting, the Participants were split into subgroups to discuss on three questions (each time linked to the 3 entry points):
- What are the challenges that may be faced to reach the targets of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030?
- Are you aware of any existing training programmes that can support the implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 with which we should avoid overlaps?
- What type of training could/should Biodiversa+ focus on to help countries reach the targets of the EU Biodiversity for 2030
During the last plenary session, the participants discussed on the outcomes of the discussions of their subgroups. Hilde Eggermont, Biodiversa+ Chair & Coordinator and Osman Tikansak from Formas offered some concluding words in relation to coherency with the overall Biodiversa+ work programme, the need for a step-by-step approach in defining and rolling out the training courses while avoiding duplication, and plans to work hand-in-hand with national hubs and our scientific community.