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Newsletter 2017/1


NEWSLETTER July 2017

Dear Reader,

During these hot months, we all wait for our well-deserved few days of the year on holiday. Many of us hope to spend these days outside in one way or another – next to the seasides or lakes, in the forests or in the mountains hiking, walking, enjoying the sunset or the summer flowers. No wonder we are all longing to be outside: being in nature reduces stress, stimulates our creativity and makes us relaxed. But don’t we take this for granted in spite of how much nature provides? Year by year biodiversity is reduced, as there is less and less support for nature and biodiversity as national sources and support gradually ebb. There is also a growing fear of how much nature will be featured in the future budget of the EU beyond 2021 when the EU turns to fight for other priorities forgetting about all the values and basics nature gives.

That’s why in the first half of the year, we focused our activities on showing how much nature does. We showed with our events and several publications how Green and Blue Infrastructure contribute to health, agriculture, transport and cities well-being and how ecosystem services such as clean water, medicine or pollination build up values within and beyond Natura 2000. With the same aim in mind, we also organize the 2nd European Urban Green Infrastructure Conference and 7th Green-Go Short Film Contest to mobilize people to showcase good examples not only on urban greenery, but generally on sustainability. Under the aegis of sustainability, we also had our first Circular Hungary Conference to demonstrate more about how circular economy can improve businesses. In addition, we focused on the bigger picture: an advocacy campaign with partners on an additional 6th scenario for the future of the EU, where sustainability is thoroughly integrated.

I wish you an interesting reading and a good plunge into our news as well as into some cooling waves during the summer,

Agnes Zolyomi
General Secretary of CEEweb for Biodiversity

GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE (GI)


GI Integration into Other Sectors



EU BUDGET THAT WORKS FOR PEOPLE, NATURE




TIME TO CUT THE CAP




BETTER IMPLEMENTATION OF NATURE DIRECTIVES





MAKING BUSINESSES CIRCULAR


SUSTAINABLE TOURISM


7th GREEN-GO FILM CONTEST IS LAUNCHED


2 NEW MEMBERS AT CEEWEB FOR BIODIVERSITY


GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE (GI)

GI INTEGRATION INTO OTHER SECTORS
 

What is the key to sustainable agriculture, more efficient healthcare system and water management, as well as for creating resilient, modern cities? Nature-based solutions!

We have gathered the most recent scientific data and evidence on beneficial effects and economic advantages of having more nature. We have sent them to the representatives of relevant national authorities, calling them to invest more time, capacities and funds in promoting the development of GI in their countries. 

EUROPEAN URBAN GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE CONFERENCE

Industry speed-dating, businesses exhibiting their latest achievements, leaders in urban green infrastructure discussing innovative solutions for creating resilient, 21st century cities – we are proudly presenting the EUGIC 2017 Budapest. The conference will take place on 29-30 November in the cutting-edge Akvarium venue. Registration is open and participants can grab the Early Bird tickets by 31 July. We are inviting you to join us and to spread the word! www.eugic.events

TRANSGREEN: GREEN AND GREY INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE CARPATHIANS
 

Can nature and infrastructure coexist? We believe so. The network of highways and railways that connect key areas of Hungary together and this country to the rest of Europe is being planned for development right now. This “large infrastructure” will be developed across the Carpathian Mountains and will cross valuable ecosystems. This threatens to fragment and disturb natural protected areas, including Natura 2000 sites, threatening to fragment and to disturb them. In order to prevent and diminish these threats and pressures on nature, the TRANSGREEN project aims to develop an environmentally-friendly and safe transport network in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, and Ukraine. More info: http://bit.ly/transgreen

EU BUDGET THAT WORKS FOR PEOPLE, NATURE

THE 6th SCENARIO FOR THE FUTURE OF EUROPE

Why do we, along with more than 250 non-governmental organisations (including the SDG Watch Europe Alliance) ask for an alternative vision of Europe that is sustainable, fair and social, together with more than 250 non-governmental organizations from various sectors? Because we believe that the five scenarios for the future of Europe presented by the President of the European Commission do not provide a positive vision for Europe, nor does it provide a reform that is able to address the social, environmental and financial challenges the EU faces today. Therefore, together with these multiple non-governmental organizations from various sectors, we ask for the alternative vision of Europe that is sustainable, fair and social.

Read more here.

SUSTAINABILITY PRINCIPLES FOR THE FUTURE EU BUDGET


How can we put sustainability at the heart of the European project? With SDG Watch Europe, we developed eight sustainability principles to ensure coherence in the future internal and external EU spending. Why? Because making the EU budget work for sustainability is not about spending a bit more on environmental or social objectives. It is much more about ensuring overall coherence, considering social inclusion or environmental impacts in all its spendings, enabling a socio-economic transition, or ensuring public return on every EU investment.  Thus we call on the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council to integrate these eight principles in a holistic approach  from the very beginning of the financial policy planning, and prioritise the interest of the citizens and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Curious about the principles? You can find them here.

STAKEHOLDER ROUNDTABLE ON THE FUTURE OF EUROPE AND THE EU BUDGET
 

Before the launch of the 6th scenario for the future of Europe, we organized a meeting with representatives of non-governmental organizations, as well as of DG Climate Action, DG Regio, DG Environment and European Parliament in Brussels to discuss how an EU reform and the future EU budget can work for both citizens and the planet. We presented the results of the stakeholder survey designed by the SDG Watch Europe alliance on the EU budget that collected more than 300 responses from all over Europe. The demands that reached a broad agreement in survey responses included:the EU budget becoming a key driver for sustainability, Sustainable Development Goals being mainstreamed, more citizens’ participation and higher transparency in decision-making processes. 

TIME TO CUT THE CAP

GOOD FOOD, GOOD FARMING NOW
 

We have called on EU leaders to carry out a radical reform of the CAP and related policies, together with over 130 European civil society organisations from 25 EU countries. In a common statement titled ‘Good Food, Good Farming – Now’  the signatories state that the current food and farming system is no longer functioning, since it props up the agro-industrial status quo. Thus it calls for a fundamental reform of Europe’s broken agricultural policy. Such a reform is urgently needed to enable a transition towards a food and farming system which supports fair and diverse food and farming economies, is underpinned by viable alternatives such as organic and agro-ecological farming, respects the environment and animal welfare, supports citizens’ health, and is publicly accountable. More info here.

YES TO A LIVING LAND!

Is public money indeed spent on public goods? Our infographic shows how taxpayers’ money is spent on agriculture in the EU. Annually, EUR 53 billion is spent on Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) – 40% of the overall EU budget! Prior to the European Commission’s public consultation on the future of CAP, we said yes to the Living Land. This was together with 258,708 citizens and 59 organisations, who all participated in the campaign which aimed to mobilise citizens to have their say on CAP reform. This was the 2nd largest ever response to an EU public consultation.

GREEING MEASURES IN CAP – WHICH MAY WORK FOR YOU AND NATURE?

Is public money indeed spent on public goods? Our infographic shows how taxpayers’ money is spent on agriculture in the EU. Annually, EUR 53 billion is spent on Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) – 40% of the overall EU budget! Prior to the European Commission’s public consultation on the future of CAP, we said yes to the Living Land, together with  258,708 citizens and 59 organisations, by participating in this campaign that was mobilising citizens to have their say on CAP reform. This was the 2nd largest ever response to an EU public consultation.

BETTER IMPLEMENTATION OF NATURE DIRECTIVES

COMMENTS ON THE ACTION PLAN

The European Commission’s fitness check results concluded that the Natura 2000 directives are fit for purpose and that they work best where well implemented. We believe that we need bold actions both at the EU level as well as in the individual Member States to increase implementation of the directives and that the Action Plan can be a great tool for this if the actions are well targeted, smartly planned and supported by all the stakeholders.

Together with Eurosite, representing both of our organisations’ members, we sent a letter to the European Commission where we stated our comments on the proposed Action plan for better implementation of Natura 2000.

STORIES FROM CITIZENS

Protected Natura 2000 sites offer various opportunities for business development, cooperation between sectors, new job openings and other advantages for communities. We brought together our Friends of Natura 2000 from the Czech Republic, Romania, and Italy in Brussels on 7 June to share their success stories at the “How can people and the economy benefit from nature? Stories from citizens” conference with more than 50 participants from the non-governmental sector, the European institutions, and academia. We also presented the results of the “What is your favourite gift from nature?” contest that targeted Members of the European Parliament, asking them to choose their preferred ecosystem services. Postcards with images of the selected nature’s gifts were distributed, with a call for dissemination among individuals that are not involved in the environmental sector. Our organising partner Eurosite introduced the Natura 2000 branding campaign stressing the benefits Natura 2000 can provide to local economies. The campaign aims to trigger new partnerships between site managers, farmers and local businesses, and improve perceptions of and increase support for the Natura 2000 network. The conference was hosted by the Members of the European Parliament from Hungary Mr. Benedek Javor, Czech Republic Mr. Pavel Poc and Finland Ms. Sirpa Pietikäinen and supported by IUCN. More information here.

2nd ALPINE NATURA 2000 SEMINAR

How we can we improve and strengthen the implementation of Natura 2000 in the region and ensure progress towards the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy targets? We were invited to take part in the 2nd Alpine Natura 2000 seminar to find answers to these challenges. More information here.

MAPPING AND ASSESSING ECOSYSTEM SERVICES (MAES)

A comprehensive assessment of the Niraj-Târnava Mică Natura 2000 sites’ ecosystem services and a better preservation of nature’s gifts is the final result of our 2 year-long project. This research was performed with the inclusion of the locals – from the planning of the very first steps to the final conclusions. Assessment  and selection of  six key ecosystem services concluded that the total economic value that protected Natura 2000 sites provide in the Tarnava-Mica region in Romania is 13 million EUR. The policy recommendations based on the scenarios developed for 2040 and the quantitative assessment provide a guiding framework for decision-makers but ultimately the implementation of these recommendations will depend on adequate political will. 

MAKING BUSINESSES CIRCULAR

What are the economic, business and innovation opportunities of a circular economy? Together with the Foundation for Circular Economy, we organised the Circular Hungary 2017 conference and expo in Budapest where we gathered business executives, entrepreneurs, product developers, engineers, environmental management professionals and designers who were introduced to the various practical applications and business opportunities of the circular economy. More information in Hungarian can be found here.

SUSTAINABLE TOURISM

Tourism in a green and healthy way? It is the only way! The project INSiGHTS – Integrated Slow, Green and Healthy Tourism Strategies is about finding solutions for this question by developing tourism strategies. The aims of these strategies are two-fold. Not only do they wish to make a region more attractive to tourists, but also protect its natural and cultural resources. As a knowledge provider project partner, CEEweb is primarily involved in the development of state-of-the-art approaches in sustainable tourism through the promotion of eco-conscious and healthy lifestyles amongst visitors and hosts linked to the sustainable tourism offer.

7th GREEN-GO FILM CONTEST IS LAUNCHED

What is stopping us from having more nature in our lives? Why are we taking, consuming, and wasting without thinking about the consequences of our actions? What is your vision of Europe in 2050? We are excited about the creative short films that will address these subjects in one of the three categories for the 7th edition of Green-Go contest: Build Green, Live Green (green infrastructure), The Last Day on Earth? (Earth Overshoot Day) and Your Europe in 2050 (EU budget). The contest is open until 1 October 2017, with prizes of 500 euros of online vouchers for category award winners, and 200 euros of online vouchers for the public award winner. The Green-Go award ceremony will take place at EUGIC 2017 Budapest, 30 November 2017. More information on the Green-Go website www.greengofest.eu and Facebook page.

2 NEW MEMBERS AT CEEWEB FOR BIODIVERSITY

It is with great pleasure that we announce that Bird Protection and Study Society of Serbia, an affiliate of Bird Life and European Wilderness Society joined forces with other organisations from Central and Eastern Europe with common visions and missions by becoming new members of CEEweb for Biodiversity. Read more about their activities here.

Thank you for reading our newsletter!
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