Reconciling economic priorities with biodiversity conservation remains a key challenge for EU Member States in their efforts to pursue sustainable growth. A workshop on "Linking Biodiversity to National Economic and Social Priorities in EU Member States" was held by Ecologic Institute and IEEP in Berlin (Germany) on 19 July 2017 to explore this challenge in more detail and identify opportunities for unlocking nature's potential to contribute to socio-economic objectives. The presentations are available for download.
The workshop, which was one of three regional events taking place within the European Commission funded project "Linking Biodiversity to National Economic and Social Priorities in the EU Member States" invited 19 regional and national authorities as well as other stakeholders from Western and Central Europe to discuss the preliminary findings of the study and share their insights and experiences. In particular, the workshop aimed to identify policy needs for the urban, rural and coastal regions from the regional to EU level to unlock nature's potential to contribute to socio-economic objectives like jobs, growth, urban and regional development, public health and social cohesion.
The workshop began with an introduction to the project and its findings to date, followed by a series of case study presentations on e.g. green infrastructure for public health and climate change adaptation, agro-ecology, and recreation and eco-tourism. Subsequent question and answer sessions and interactive group discussions delved more in depth to identify the drivers of and barriers to using nature-based solutions. The following findings emerged out of the day's discussions:
- Urban context: There is a need to increase the connectivity between green areas, as their multifunctionality is key to marketing green infrastructure and gaining increased buy-in from policy makers and the wider population. A participatory approach to citizen engagement can elevate responsibility and a sense of ownership amongst users and can have a positive effect on long-term maintenance.
- Rural context: In order to promote the education of individuals working in rural areas, a vision for a sustainable society and integrated biodiversity should be instilled. Cooperation and innovative models should be fostered at the EU level for organic farmers, while a change in consumer behaviour should also be fostered.
- Coastal Context: With the high number of different sectors involved in coastal areas, a need for cohesion in policy and planning instruments was identified. The combination of sectoral approaches to coastal development could foster innovation and cooperation. However, it was also identified that coastal development could be a primary contributor to its depletion, meaning that such areas could benefit by remaining undeveloped.
The case study presentations are available for download below, and the final project report is expected to be published by the end of 2017.