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23 February 2017

Nature for resilient modern cities

By 2050, 82% of Europe’s population will live in cities. At the same time, urban areas are facing a wide range of challenges as the urban population is growing, the environmental degradation is increasing and the effects of climate change are starting to impact our daily lives. A big and challenging task is now in front of regional and local authorities – creating sustainable, healthy and resilient cities that will be able to afford to withstand the future challenges and provide well-being to its citizens.

What is the answer to these challenges? Nature! Multi-functional green spaces, carefully planned and integrated into spatial plans, can significantly contribute to addressing these challenges.

Our publication “Resilient Modern Cities With a Little Help From Our Nature: green infrastructure integration into urban spatial planning” presents the benefits of nature for creating livable and healthier cities in the EU, including best practice cases and recommendations.

We are welcoming your feedback!

23 February 2017

EUGIC 2017 LAUNCHES TODAY

Following the success of EUGIC 2015 Vienna, we are excited to announce the launch of the European Urban Green Infrastructure Conference (EUGIC) on 29-30 November 2017 in Budapest, Hungary.

EUGIC 2017 Budapest is the place where professionals across the built environment sector (planners and policy makers, ecologists, architects and landscape architects, engineers, developers and investors, constructors and facilities managers) meet to celebrate greening cities.

Around the world, towns and cities are working with nature to adapt to climate change and create healthy, resilient and prosperous 21st century urban communities. EUGIC 2017 Budapest brings together some of the leaders in the field of urban green infrastructure from across Europe and the world to share experience of working with nature to deliver livable  cities.

EUGIC 2017 Budapest will attract over 300 participants to the cutting edge Akvarium venue in the centre of beautiful Budapest – one of the most stunning capitals in Europe.

CEEweb for Biodiversity is delivering EUGIC 2017 in partnership with Livingroofs.org founded by Dusty Gedge, President of the European Federation of Green Roof and Wall Associations, and hosted by the City of Budapest.

EUGIC 2017 Budapest is supported by the European Union, allowing us to keep ticket prices low for this popular 2-day international event – tickets are on sale now.

EUGIC 2017 already has great partners. There are many opportunities to partner with us, including exhibiting, presenting ideas and showcasing projects.

Have general questions? Contact us: info@nulleugic.events 

For finding out more about opportunities to become a sponsor, write to partnerships@nulleugic.events and for all registration enquirers, drop us a message to registration@nulleugic.events.

We look forward to welcoming you in Budapest this November!

 

 

20 February 2017

Nature for sustainable agriculture

The most recent scientific evidence, best practice examples and recommendations for having more nature in our fields are presented in our newest brochure on green infrastructure integration (GI) into the agriculture sector: Sustainable Agriculture, With a Little Help From Our Nature.

By today, people have converted 37% of earth’s land surface into farms and pastures. Decades of intensive farming practices have taken its toll on environment and people – agriculture is thought to cause around 70% of the projected loss of terrestrial biodiversity. Also, the global decline in insect pollinators is caused mostly by the use of pesticides in agriculture.

Because agriculture relies heavily on nature, unsustainable practices initiate a vicious circle where both people and nature end up as losers.

CEEweb for Biodiversity supports creating and maintenance of sustainable farming systems, which can ensure producing safer and healthier food and provide conditions for a thriving countryside with secured livelihoods for farmers. Well-preserved nature is a pre-requisite for those systems, as it delivers a whole array of benefits for farming, including pollination, appropriate nutrient cycling, pest control, water regulation and soil protection.

Check our our GI and Agriculture brochure now and provide us with your feedback via Twitter!

15 February 2017

How to better implement Natura 2000?

Together with Eurosite and 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.

The fitness check results concluded that the directives are fit for purpose and that they work best where well implemented. For this reason 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. We are of the opinion 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.

You may find the letter here.

2 February 2017

Wetlands for disaster risk reduction

Today is the the World Wetlands Day – it is celebrated every year on 2 February since 1971 when the Convention on Wetlands, known as the Ramsar Convention, was adopted, drawing attention to the importance of wetlands.

This year’s theme “Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction” is chosen to raise awareness and to highlight the vital roles of healthy wetlands – acting as natural safeguards against disasters, which makes them important for protecting communities most at risk and vulnerable to the devastating effects of  such as floods, droughts and cyclones. Additionally, healthy wetlands offer us a number of opportunities to help adapt and manage some of the consequences of climate change.

CEEweb believes that true protection of wetland biodiversity and ecosystem services can only be ensured if restored hotspots are incorporated into a wider Green Infrastructure network. Our restoration project combined practical restoration in Romania, Slovakia and Estonia, with ensuring that local, site-level action is replicated and scaled up to the regional level. In order to do this, we measured restoration impacts and benefits and communicated them to decision-makers.

Today, wetlands are being destroyed or degraded faster than any other ecosystem. Latest figures show that 64% of the world’s wetlands have disappeared in the last century, and that every year we lose 1% of those remaining. Wetlands are drained or degraded to meet the increasing demands for water and land to cater for agriculture, industry and a growing urban population.

Being motivated with our previous success, we will continue with our efforts in restoring wetlands by supporting local NGOs and other stakeholders across Eastern and South-East Europe to implement restoration projects and to account for the ecosystem services these projects provide for society. With the help of the Technical Assistance Facility for the Danube Region Projects, we have identified 31 follow-up wetland and grassland sites in 13 countries with significant restoration potential.  Learn more about it here.

 

2 February 2017

Time to cut the CAP?

A public consultation on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) with the alleged reason to modernise and simplify the EU’s most expensive and – according to many – dubious policy on agriculture is launched today by the European Commission.

With the opening of a three-month public consultation, the Commission wishes to receive contributions to define the agricultural policy priorities for the future. A modernised and simplified Common Agricultural Policy would address the key challenges that agriculture and rural areas are facing while at the same time contributing to the Commission’s policy priorities (notably jobs and growth), to sustainable development, to a budget focused on results, simplification and subsidiarity.

Ágnes Zólyomi, General Secretary at CEEweb for Biodiversity said: “Green NGOs very much wish to see a CAP that really delivers for the society and environment and not only for few privileged groups – 70% of payments goes to around 30% of the largest, most unsustainable farms. The new CAP should provide healthy food production, rich soils, diverse ecosystems and sustainable communities. So we encourage all to highlight these in their survey answers.”

2 February 2017

Lack of scrutiny over future developments’ impact on protected areas

Required procedures for assessing the potential negative environmental impacts of future developments on protected areas in Europe are too often not carried out properly – and in some cases are being bypassed altogether. This malpractice is one of the factors contributing to the continued degradation of Europe’s valuable natural heritage.

This evaluation was made in a study carried out by the NGO Justice and Environment.

Justice and Environment has called on the European Commission to address the main shortcomings in the way these assessments are carried out as it prepares its proposal on how to better implement EU nature protection laws over the next couple of months. CEEweb for Biodiversity supported this call together with the European Environmental Bureau and ClientEarth.

For more information, read our full joint statement here.

20 January 2017

Next EU budget: we want your opinion

The success of our efforts to overcome many challenges we face today will greatly depend on the shape of the next (post 2020) European budget. European nature is also greatly affected by EU spending, in both positive and negative ways, and therefore our efforts towards nature conservation will be largely affected how future EU budgets will look like.

That is why, as a member of SDG Watch Europe, we are collecting expert opinion about next EU budget cycle, by gathering input from NGOs, national governments, national parks, businesses, universities, think-tanks etc. –  everyone that works in the EU and is in touch with its policies, via online survey.

We invite you to fill the survey by 15 February and give your opinion about how should EU money be spent. It takes about 20 minutes to fill it. All answers will be kept anonymous and the results will be summarised in a report and presented in May at a stakeholder event for which we will send you an invitation.

You may find the survey here:

We would greatly appreciate if you could devote your time to this important question as your input would be very valuable to us. Please, feel free to send this survey to your colleagues and partners, so that we can collect a wide range of opinions from various angles.

 

 

 

11 January 2017

CEEweb Academy report

On 18-19 October 2016 in Budapest we talked about EU agriculture and green infrastructure with farmers, representatives of European Commission and national ministries, non-governmental organisations and researches. Positions shared by many at the CEEweb Academy were that there is still a lot of space for the improvement of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and the need to better monitor its implementation as well as that public money should be spent on public goods.

You may find detail information on presentations, working group sessions and conclusions of the CEEweb Academy on EU Agriculture and Green Infrastructure: Towards a Profitable and Sustainable Practice here:  ceeweb-academy-report.

9 January 2017

Our plans for 2017

In 2017, we will continue with our efforts to create a future where sustainability and the environment are priorities. We are keeping our holistic approach in all of our current and new activities and we are working for the benefit of society and for the benefit of our members.

Here is the outline of the thematic activities foreseen for this year:

Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) – EU budget that will benefit both people and planet

Our ultimate objective is to make the next MFF (the EU Budget 2021-2028) “sustainable proofed”, which can support the European transition to sustainability and contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals with European actions.

Activities: online questionnaire – recommendations for the next MFF, report in April; developing sustainability proofing guidelines with the other members of SDG Watch Europe by September, followed by the conference in Brussels targeting decision makers and relevant stakeholders.

Green infrastructure (GI) and sectorial policy integration

We are continuing with our lobbying work in Brussels demanding more financing for green infrastructure from the next EU budget as well as the integration of GI with other sectors. We will organize two meetings on ecosystem services (ES) and green infrastructure: “speed dating” with potential donors and ES awareness raising meeting for MEPs. Furthermore, we will continue developing informational and promotional material on GI integration with health, agriculture, cities and water sectors.

29 – 30 November in Budapest: Together with Livingroofs.org we are organizing the 2nd European Green Infrastructure conference exploring how nature-based solutions help cities address climate change adaptation, biodiversity loss, water and energy management, health, wellbeing and community. Leading urban Green Infrastructure experts from policy, planning, design, implementation, maintenance and monitoring will share experience of working with nature to create resilient, livable 21st Century cities.

Our 7th Green-Go Short Films Contest’s categories will closely related to green infrastructure and ecosystem services, aiming to reach millions of people and to create an online community of proactive film authors and nature conservationists from all around the world.

We will also investigate how we can combine smart and innovative solutions in urban areas within Smart and Green – the Future of Visegrad Cities project, focusing on Slovakian, Hungarian, Czech and Polish cities.

Agriculture

After successful CEEweb Academy EU Agriculture and Green Infrastructure: Towards a Profitable and Sustainable Practice and initial presentation of our Sustainable Rural Development Index (SRDI), we’re continuing our efforts to its further development and testing its effectiveness with two validating workshops. We will also provide our input on CAP during the public consultation in early 2017 on how the EU agricultural policy should change.

Natura 2000

As the fitness check results showed that the directives are fit for purpose, our campaign’s focus is now on asking MEPs and the European Commission for more funding for Natura 2000. We will also urge the member states for the better implementation of the directives and continuously gather feedback from the experts on the needed improvement. We will also organize an expert workshop on the to be published Action Plan on implementation and a conference on the socioeconomic benefits to highlight the need for more support from the EU budget.

DEAR project

In January, we are launching an online course on circular economy to Hungarian businesses, together with the Circular Economy Foundation. We are also organising a conference on circular economy for 200 Hungarian businesses on 1st June in Budapest.

We will publish a petition asking EU stakeholders to ban planned obsolescence and to support reparability.

Our focus will also be on education where our main objective is to raise the awareness of children in Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland about the various aspects of resource use. These activities will be conducted in a frame of a project Educate 4 sustainable resources, lead by the Slovak Center for Communication and Development

The beginning of 2017 is also marked with activities related to two new Interreg projects:

In TRANSGREEN, lead by WWF DCP, we will work on a catalogue of measures on how the new road and railways infrastructure of the Danube countries consider more ecological corridors and green infrastructure.

Within INSIGHTS project we look into how smart concepts and methods for promoting environmental consciousness and healthy lifestyle amongst visitors and hosts can be linked to sustainable tourism.

Furthermore, we are proceeding with restoration activities, currently waiting for the EU to accept the published study on it, as well as with sustainable tourism within ETE project. We are working on the final activities related to the MAES project on mapping and assessing ecosystem services that will be completed with summary study, stakeholder briefs and a conference in February in Targu Mures. We will continue with the Natura 2000 biogeography process activities and will attend workshops and other related events.