Strengthening Ecosystem-based Approaches to Tackle Climate Change – What are the Policy Implications?
Climate change and human activities are posing challenges to European habitats and their management. Protected areas in particular are confronted with the pressing need to monitor changes, adapt management strategies, and consider flexible responses to future developments. This workshop, which was organized by the EU INTERREG Project HABIT-CHANGE, aimed to present and discuss options on how to improve policies focusing on adaptive management for mitigating climate change impacts in protected areas. Sandra Naumann, a Senior Fellow at Ecologic Institute, gave a presentation on how ecosystem-based approaches can better be integrated into European and national policies and strategies and provided a basis for the subsequent discussion.
The workshop brought together partners from the INTERREG Project HABIT-CHANGE, such as research institutes, nature conservation authorities, management administrations as well as policy-makers and external experts, to explore possibilities for addressing adaptive climate change management within existing national and regional policies, particularly regarding management in protected areas and Natura 2000 sites. To date, several EU countries have management strategies and practices for the conservation of habitats, but examples of practical climate change adaptation activities in protected areas are rather rare. The implementation of theoretical advice from guidelines and strategies into concrete management activities in protected areas is also at a very early stage.
The workshop participants discussed a wide variety of possible policy actions, including financing opportunities, awareness raising activities, knowledge exchange between EU Member States, adoption of guidelines for adaptive management, capacity building for policy makers and practitioners, targeted research and highlighting the benefits of adaptive climate change management. Moreover, the participants identified current policy opportunities to enhance these actions, such as the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy, the new 7th Environment Action Progamme and the upcoming EU Adaptation Strategy. The policy recommendations will be summarized by the HABIT-CHANGE Consortia and presented to EU and national policy makers.