Home » CEEweb Newsletter – 2015 Issue 2

CEEweb Newsletter – 2015 Issue 2

                                             Editorial EYD Reaching the Sustainable Development Goals Building BlueGreen Infrastructure and connecting sectors – Academy, Restoration project & GI Arad event Making the holidays “FAIR” Act for human rights! – Sign our petition to make our leaders act on trading conflict minerals Outcomes of the 5th Green-Go International Short Film Contest and a sneak peek into the 6th Green-Go Contest Managing Natura 2000 more successfully Empowering the powerless – Supporting small-scale farmers in Serbia Upcoming applications and opportunities Be part of our restoration activities – Follow-up to the Michael Otto BlueGreen Project                                                          Sponsoring a global green revolution, the Green-Go International Short Film Contest   Editorial Dear Reader, Yet another year has passed and we can proudly say CEEweb was not idle this year either. Within the European Year for Development, we have kicked off our new project to drive sustainable consumption and resource use – moreover we even have fought for human rights! Within the frame of the project, we addressed the new Sustainable Development Goals and continued with successfully organizing our 5th Green-Go International Short Film contest, with a reach of around 4 million people. We have also been active in rolling out the Green Infrastructure Strategy and supporting the 15% restoration target of the EU Biodiversity Strategy, along with our contribution to mapping of ecosystem services. We have also contributed towards better management of Natura 2000 by facilitating exchange of experience between Member States’ experts. We provided our share towards contributing to a greener and fairer world – and we aim to do so in 2016 as well. On behalf of CEEweb for Biodiversity, I wish you a merry Christmas (with fair trade and sustainable presents) and a more biodiversity-rich 2016 – we will certainly do our best to make it that way. Agnes Zolyomi General Secretary of CEEweb for Biodiversity   Reaching the Sustainable Development Goals The UN General Assembly adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015, which set a universal agenda for sustainable development until 2030, for developed and developing countries alike. As a follow-up to this initiative, CEEweb organised an international conference in October 2015 to discuss various options regarding trade-offs and synergies in the SDGs implementation. The event outcomes not only highlighted that holistic approaches and innovative policies are needed, but also provided scientific arguments pertaining to reducing overall pressure on the environment, which is an important ingredient for decreasing the existing trade-offs among SDGs. Few such trade-offs exist, for instance, between keeping food prices affordable, as a pre-condition towards alleviating hunger, and at the same time improving the quality of the environment. This once again highlights significance of the goals that the European Resource Cap Coalition strives to achieve, along with proposed tools that can bring about successful implementation of the goals, which not only possess the ability to address environmental challenges but also take social justice into consideration.   Building BlueGreen Infrastructure and connecting sectors – Academy, Restoration project & GI Arad event This year again we did our share to roll out the Green Infrastructure Strategy and boost the restoration efforts. Within our Michael Otto Building BlueGreen Infrastructure project framework, we restored three wetland sites in Estonia, Slovakia and Romania respectively and ended up hosting 80 different stakeholders from various sectors for our renowned CEEweb Academy in October 2015. Here, 24 presentations highlighted the various policies and practice on building and restoring BlueGreen Infrastructure across the European continent. On 29-30 October 2015, in collaboration with our members, Excelsior and Arad Municipality, we organized a conference on Green Infrastructure implementation in Romania. On 23 November 2015, within the framework of the 1st Urban Green Infrastructure Conference, we co-organized a workshop on “GI, is it worth it?” with ICLEI, which explored the potential possibilities of Green Infrastructure investments. We also promoted our joint LinkedIn platform called the European Green Infrastructure Practitioners’ Network and Learning Alliance, where we discussed similar issues. In addition to this, with eftec leading the way, we started our work on promoting restoration in the EU Biodiversity Strategy context, where we specifically focus on current developments in the EU and future policy recommendations. Moreover, we have already started collecting further restoration examples with the help of the Technical Assistance Facility for the Danube Region Projects (TAF-DRP) and put together an Urban Green Infrastructure proposal for the Central Europe Transnational Programme involving key cities in the region.   Making the holidays “FAIR” Christmas gifts are given to people as a token of care, attention and affection. However, in most cases these products do not provide for a decent living and end up at the fag end of the supply chain. In worst case scenario, they may even fuel violent conflicts or may be an aftermath of slavery or child labour. Choose fair trade and make the Christmas holidays better for people! Not only are fair trade coffees and chocolates widely available, but also smart phones, gold and silver jewelry, spices and wine. Making a fair choice will show that you care and support sustainable living. See more on our actions in terms of sustainable development.   Act for human rights! – Sign our petition to make our leaders act on trading conflict minerals The EU imports gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten in the form of raw materials or as a part of our electronic devices in large quantities. The extraction and trade of these minerals often leads to financing of violent conflicts and serious human rights violations, especially in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan and Colombia. The EU is currently negotiating a regulation about due diligence practice to be followed by European companies, while sourcing these minerals. As a part of this regulation, companies would be required to check their supply chain, assess the risks and take steps to ensure that their existing sourcing practices do not end up in financing future conflicts.  We believe that this regulation should be legally binding throughout the whole value chain in order to have a substantial impact on the system. Please sign our petition addressing European governments to stand up and putting a strong conflict mineral regulation in place, for protecting human rights!   And the winner is… – Outcomes of the 5th Green-Go International Short Film Contest and a sneak peek into the 6th Green-Go Contest “(…) I was the eye through what the viewers watched the stories and I was the filter which sorted out the tons of information, feelings and impressions that I met. It is a huge responsibility and a huge blessing when your story makes a change. Even if it is only a minor one.” With these words, Hesna Al Ghaoui,  who has been working as a journalist, including filming and visiting several crisis zones around the world for the past ten years, in addition to currently being editor-in-chief of a documentary programme on television, kickstarted the competition. It was an honour to have her as a member of our jury for the 5th Green-Go Short Film Contest, launched on 27 March, 2015. 150 short films, 40 countries, 4 million people; this year’s Green-Go contest was not only special because of the topics, but also because of the quality of short film entries that came through, including various interesting anecdotes. These stories revealed about how somebody is making a living by scavenging floating plastic materials in Manila, people struggling working in gold mines day-by-day in Kenya, how one can go about reducing ecological footprints by becoming vegan, cold shower as the saviour of our planet and a computer left on stand by mode contributing to environmental destruction. Moreover, Earth Overshoot Day which provides a good combination of education and entertainment and about how green is fair trade. 150 applications from all the continents competed for the 700 EUR category prizes. After a detailed scrutinization by our renowned jury, results were announced on 15th October 2015. Above all, it gave us the utmost pleasure that the best of the Green-Go Short Films were screened on TV reaching millions. Time has come now to start gearing up for Green-Go 2016, which will make its presence felt very soon on Green-Go’s website posing questions like “What’s your favourite thing nature provides?” and “Where do all the minerals used in our mobile phones come from?” etc. inviting equally creative answers from participants.  Get ready to get inspired by Green-Go shorts, on one hand by beautiful nature shots and on the other by shocking figures displayed in The Human Development Timebomb!   Managing Natura 2000 more successfully More than 40 experts across Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, came together in Arad, Romania for discussing the management of Natura 2000 habitats in the Pannonian, Steppic and Black Sea Biogeographical regions. The main outcomes from the conference showed the need of further cooperation and best-practice exchanges amongst Member States. The conference, held between 4-6 November 2015, was organized by the Romanian Ministry for Environment and Waters with support from the Danube Delta National Institute, the European Commission, CEEweb and ECNC. Participants were invited within the Natura 2000 biogeographical seminar, as a follow-up to the Kick-off seminar held in Luxembourg earlier in June 2015. Grasslands and forest habitats were addressed by two working groups and a site-visit was also included to the local Natural Park Lunca Muresului. Main outcomes included suggestions of follow-up events about further pastoralism, invasive alien species, coastal ecotourism and coastal biodiversity management, a study tour involving interpretation of forest habitats, sharing best practices e.g. on ecosystem services approach and use of the Natura 2000 Communication Platform for further case study exchanges on management plans, Favorable Conservation Status definitions, invasive alien species management and exchange interpretation manuals. Participants found the event very useful based on the evaluation carried out at the event closure. Most specifically, participants pointed towards the usefulness of the knowledge and experience exchanges and possibilities in setting up future cooperation and case studies.   Empowering the powerless – Supporting small-scale farmers in Serbia Serbia, as an accession country of the European Union, is brimming with opportunities as well as constraints, especially in the field of agriculture. Our International Visegrad Fund project, “Empower the Powerless” aims to address these constraints by assisting small-scale Serbian farmers to seize the opportunities and get to know the legal background. We recently carried out fieldwork in Czech Republic and Slovakia and the related project closing event organized in Serbia wished to continue pursuing these objectives. A field trip in September 2015, involving Serbian stakeholders aimed to identify more out of the box solutions, which combined together financial profitability and nature conservation. Based on the practical tasks carried out in the trip, the participants were able to gain first-hand experience as well as necessary knowledge and skills required to achieve success, which was based on the belief that if success has been tasted by other neighbouring countries, Serbia can very well work towards achieving the same. Amongst others, they visited  “Butterfly Paradise” – a local conservation initiative achieved through extensive sheep grazing in Zdanice, various organic farms, fruit processing facilities in Hostetin, herbal tea producers in Sonnentor and a cooperative company of wine producers. The final conference to be planned on 10-11 March 2016 in Belgrade, which will display outcomes of the projects, including presenting our guidance document for Serbian farmers. Large emphasis on boosting further cooperation would also be incorporated by means of inviting donors and providing relevant training to farmers. Find out further details on the project website.   Upcoming applications and opportunities Be part of our restoration activities – Follow-up to the Michael Otto BlueGreen Project The “Building BlueGreen infrastructure in Central- Eastern Europe” project has helped CEEweb members to carry out three wetland restoration projects in Estonia, Slovakia and Romania. However, work still needs to be done in rolling out Green Infrastructure on a much larger scale in the CEE region in order to reach the 15% restoration target of the EU Biodiversity Strategy. For making this happen, we are currently searching for follow-up projects within the framework of a Technical Assistance Facility for the Danube Region Projects (TAF-DRP). Municipalities, local NGOs and businesses, in January 2016, will have the golden opportunity to put forward their project ideas on restoration of wetlands, peatlands and grasslands, which can serve as a basis for future calls for the Danube Transnational Programme (calls expected from the second half of 2016). In case you feel interested in such projects, please feel free to contact Sarolta Tripolszky at sarolta@nullceeweb.org.   Sponsoring a global green revolution, the Green-Go International Short Film Contest Would you be interested in supporting a bottom-up initiative, aiming to change the world and has a reach extending to millions of people? Grab your chance now, as we are currently preparing for our next call on the short film contest, where we are looking for partners of distribution and donors. Should you feel interested in being part of such a green revolution, please contact Erzsebet Ohegyi at ohegyi@nullceeweb.org.