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22 March 2017

World Water Day: challenges and solutions

Today we celebrate World Water Day. Today, more than ever before, we are facing challenges caused by water scarcity, floods and droughts as well as water pollution. Demand for both drinking and industrial water is growing as the global population is expanding and as we increasingly use it for energy and food production. That is why (not just on this day)  we should think about how we can secure this irreplaceable source of life, how we can make sure that it is clean, it is used wisely (without wasting) and it is managed properly.

At CEEweb for Biodiversity, we know how these issues can be addressed: instead of relying on grey infrastructure that destroys natural elements, pollutes the environment and costs large amounts of money, we should turn to nature-based solutions that take into account ecosystem as a whole, addressing environmental, social and economic issues at once.

We gathered the most recent scientific evidence of nature’s benefits for people and economy and how green solutions can be integrated into the water sector. Furthermore, we are advocating change: we shared our findings with relevant stakeholders by sending them our latest publication “A Brighter Future, With a Little Help From Our Nature: green-blue infrastructure integration into the water sector” and asking them to give priority to nature-based solutions, to compile comprehensive policies that incorporate nature into water management sector, to promote strategies, plans and investments that take into account water scarcity challenges, etc.

World Water Day is celebrated since 1993 when the United nations General Assembly designated the 22nd March as the World Water Day. According to the UN data, 1.8 billion people use a source of drinking water contaminated with feces today, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio.

21 March 2017

What is nature worth for you?

And the answer is 13 million EUR – this is the amount that protected Natura 2000 sites provide in the form of six selected ecosystem services in the Tarnava-Mica region in Romania, according to our research. During our project with Milvus Group and the Centre for Ecological Research of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA ÖK), we mapped and assessed 91 thousand hectares of Natura 2000 areas to quantify the most important ecosystem services with the involvement of the local people.

We didn’t only make interviews and surveys about ecosystem services, but we also mapped them and their potentials while calculating their values. Having found out what the most valued ecosystem services were (e.g. timber, honey, diverse landscape, water retention, wild plants and mushrooms, touristic attractiveness), we also provided suggestions for decision-makers to preserve them for future generations and integrate them to various sectors (tourism, water, forest and agriculture). Our most important findings and suggestions can be read in our summary study and will be presented during the final conference on 29th March in Targu Mures, Romania.

Read more about the project here: http://milvus.ro/ecoservices/index.php/en/index.html

14 March 2017

We became a Friend of Eurosite

While we work for the benefit of society and of our members, at the same time we are open to joining forces with organisations that share similar values with us. We are happy to announce that we are now a part of Friends of Eurosite network, a network of nature conservation organisations or networks that have a long-term working relationship with Eurosite.

CEEweb for Biodiversity has clear complementary aims with Eurosite, particularly regarding the exchange of knowledge and experience, geographic coverage, and a number of common themes.

We are looking forward to continuing and intensifying our fruitful cooperation!

14 March 2017

Meet our Member of the Month

Did you know that Bulgaria is the second country in the EU with the highest level of biodiversity and among the states with the highest percentage of declared Natura 2000 areas? It is also a country where our member, Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation (BBF) works for 30 years now, focusing on preserving this rich heritage for nature and people.

BBF is a partner in the For the Balkan and the People project that has received the prestigious Natura 2000 Award of the European Commission (Category Socio-Economic Benefits) for 2016. This is a success story of the coexistence of nature and small local businesses in Natura 2000 areas of Western and Central Balkan that are economically poor, but rich in biodiversity areas in Bulgaria.

Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation is also a member of the most influential environmental structure in Bulgaria – ForTheNature Coalition, which constantly struggles for protected nature in Bulgaria.  Right now, the coalition is calling for a support for a protection of Pirin National Park, by signing a petition that already gathered over 80 thousand signatures but still needs additional signatures to reach the target of 100,000. The petition urges the Bulgarian government to take immediate actions to save the Pirin World Heritage and EU Natura 2000 site by halting the approval of the proposed management plan.

A new draft management plan of Pirin National Park allows construction on 12.5 times bigger territory compared to the current area, and could lead to commercial logging affecting nearly 60 % of the park. The plan would jeopardize the pristine nature and ecosystem values of the northern park territories, as well as its status as a UNESCO site.

Next month we will present you other member of our network, stay tuned!

6 March 2017

Good food, good farming – now

Today 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 representing environmental and social justice networks, organic farmers, pastoralists, peasants, sustainable forestry groups, health groups, animal welfare organisations, consumer rights bodies, development, fair-trade, cultural heritage and rural development organisations, consumer co-operatives, sustainable tourism and crafts associations from 25 EU countries.

The call comes as agricultural ministers meet in Brussels  to discuss future reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and also in light of the public consultation launched by the European Commission on the future of the policy.

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, and call 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, and which respects the environment and animal welfare, supports citizens’ health, and is publicly accountable.

You may read the joint press release here.

1 March 2017

Green-blue infrastructure and water

Today, demand for both drinking and industrial water is growing as the global population is expanding and as we increasingly use it for energy and food production. We are well aware that this “blue gold” is irreplaceable and still, we do not invest enough to keep our water clean and manage it in a sustainable way. Instead, we rely on grey infrastructure that destroys natural elements, pollutes the environment, costs large amounts of money and still does not function effectively.

The benefits that blue infrastructure provides for people and economy have been substantially documented in the last years and we believe it’s time to create a strong connection between water and biodiversity sector. A big and challenging task is now in front of regional and local authorities – creating sustainable water management system that will be able to afford to withstand the future challenges and provide well-being to its citizens. Multifunctional blue infrastructure carefully planned and integrated into water management plans can significantly contribute to addressing these challenges.

What is the right answer to the contemporary challenges? Nature-based solutions.
Read about the ways to integrate green-blue infrastructure into the water sector in our newest brochure “A Brighter Future, With a Little Help From Our Nature”.

28 February 2017

For greener and safer transport

The TRANSGREEN project is launched today at a kick-off meeting in Vienna, Austria. It aims to develop an environmentally-friendly and safe transport network in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, and Ukraine.

Namely, the network of highways and railways that connect key areas of Hungary and, further on, our 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 comprised in natural protected areas, including Natura 2000 sites, threatening to fragment and to disturb them. The TRANSGREEN project’s objective is to prevent and to diminish these threats and pressures on nature.

CEEweb for Biodiversity is a partner in this project, together with WWF International Danube-Carpathian Programme, Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention (project lead, Austria); Friends of the Earth Czech Republic – Olomouc branch, Nature Conservation Agency, Transport Research Centre (Czech Republic); Association “Milvus Group”, WWF Romania (Romania); National Motorway Company, State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic, SPECTRA – Centre of Excellence of EU – Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava (Slovakia).

The project TRANSGREEN is co-funded by the European Union funds (ERDF, IPA) through the Interreg Danube Transnational Programme (DTP), Priority 3 – Better connected and energy responsible Danube region, Specific objective – Support environmentally-friendly and safe transport systems and balanced accessibility of urban and rural areas.

You can read more about the project on this webpage.

27 February 2017

Slow, green and healthy tourism

The INSiGHTS project of Interreg Danube Transnational Program is launched today at the kick-off meeting in Tata, Hungary. The focus of the project are integrated slow, green and healthy tourism strategies.

Regions in Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia, Romania and Germany have outstanding natural and cultural resources in need to be protected. At the same time, they have a great potential related to the fast growing recreational trend of slow, green and healthy tourism, to make them attractive destinations. These features put these regions in a unique position to sustainably utilise their resources.

Main results of INSiGHTS will be improved participatory governance frameworks tackling responsible green tourism development, able to support bottom-up networks of tourism providers and generation of quality-driven green tourism packages, which will attract more eco-conscious visitors. Improving the environmental attitude of all players within the complex tourism ecosystem will lead to a better balance between protection and sustainable exploitation of local resources, reduce the ecological footprint of destinations and also contribute considerably to sustainable socio-economic development for the benefit of local communities.

23 February 2017

Nature for modern, resilient 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! Multifunctional 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. You may read the brochure here.

23 February 2017

EUGIC 2017 Budapest launches today

Together with our partner Livingroofs.org, we are excited to announce the launch of the European Urban Green Infrastructure Conference (EUGIC) 2017, on 29 and 30 November 2017 in Budapest, Hungary.

EUGIC 2017 Budapest brings together leaders in urban green infrastructure to share nature-based solutions for resilient 21st century cities.

EUGIC 2017 will explore how urban centres across Europe and beyond are addressing climate change and biodiversity loss, managing water, air quality and energy, and designing for health and well-being by working with nature.

EUGIC 2017 takes place in the centre of Budapest at the cutting-edge Akvárium venue.

Following EUGIC 2015 hosted by the City of Vienna, it promises to be an even more exciting and dynamic event with over 300 participants from across the built environment sector – planners and policy makers, ecologists, architects and landscape architects, engineers, developers and investors, constructors and facilities managers.

You may register for the conference now – tickets are already available, grab the Early Bird discount!

There are many opportunities to partner with EUGIC 2017 Budapest – including becoming a sponsor, exhibitor or endorser and showcasing projects.

Let’s celebrate nature-based solutions for cities!

Have questions/comments? Drop us an email to info@nulleugic.events