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18 January 2018

Fertő-Hanság Biogeographical process event

CEEweb for Biodiversity organized the Thematic Networking Event: Towards a shared ecological rationale for more integrated implementation of the Nature and Water Directives for all Biogeographical Region.

The event was held at Fertő-Hanság National Park, Sarród, Hungary in 15-17th of November.

The main objective of the event was to provide a platform for a technical specialist discussion about better integration of decision-making processes and actions under the Birds and Habitats Directives (BD & HD) and Water Framework Directive (WFD) in the European Member states. A secondary objective was to initiate a technical specialist network on freshwater Natura habitats, which could be used to share knowledge and experience and improve decision-making. Twenty participants attended the event, representing non-/governmental institutions from 12 countries (Romania, Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, England, Malta, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and Finland).

A discussion paper was developed in advance of the meeting, which was used to help structure workshop discussions. The approach advocated by the paper is a greater focus on natural ecosystem function where this is possible and desirable, to help integrate the needs of individual Natura 2000 habitats and species in landscapes and generate biodiversity objectives that are most likely to align with water objectives. This type of approach is controversial in the context of the Nature Directives because much of our wildlife is now dependent on human modifications to the landscape of one sort or another (hydrological, chemical, physical, vegetation controls, population management).

You can find the executive summary here: Executive Summary

You can find the full event report here: Event Report

You can check the event details here.



16 January 2018

Save Kresna Gorge in Bulgaria!

A spectacular nature haven in southwestern Bulgaria, home to twice as many butterfly species as the whole of the UK and protected by EU nature laws, is under threat from an EU-funded motorway from Sofia to Greece. The detailed briefing is here.



CEEweb together with 7 other NGOs has warned the Bulgarian government of the large-scale damage to biodiversity that cannot be mitigated by measures such as animal-crossings, and similar negative effects on local people as well.

The EC will soon face a decision on whether to approve the release of funds for this, and will also have to give its opinion on whether a derogation to EU nature protections be allowed.

We are calling upon the European Commission to intervene to protect European nature and the rule of law, and to ensure European taxpayers’ money is not misspent on a damaging, unlawful project. In particular we urge the EC to:

  •   launch an infringement procedure against Bulgaria for significant breaches of EU law, to protect Kresna Gorge Natura 2000 site;
  •   work with Bulgaria and condition use of EU funds to ensure successful completion of the project by 2023 in full compliance with the Birds and Habitats Directives, by removing transit motorway traffic from Kresna Gorge via a route outside the Gorge.

Please help the cause by sharing our briefing and call!

If you are interested, you can also listen to the Friends of the Earth podcast, in which several activists from the field talk about the situation.

8 January 2018

Tender call: cutting emissions from farming

The European Environmental Bureau and BirdLife Europe call for tender is now out. “An unavoidable step after Paris: cutting emissions from farming” will be a study on cost effective climate mitigation measures in France, Germany, Spain, Ireland and Hungary (with a focus on the socio-economic parameters/barriers including the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)). A number of studies analysing the mitigation potential within the agricultural sector already exist, but these are EU-wide and largely theoretical. This study should focus on uptake in the five countries, and real barriers and trends.

The full call can be found here.

The deadline for the proposals to be submitted is 30 January 2018. The proposals should be sent to Faustine Bas Defossez (EEB) and Harriet Bradley (BirdLife Europe).



5 January 2018

NGO position for a sustainable EU budget

Representing 71 civil society organisations in the European People’s Budget campaign advanced by SDG Watch Europe, an EU-level, cross-sectoral CSO alliance, we call for ambitious reform of the future Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) to advance a Future of Europe that Europeans can believe in. A transformational, people centered, and fully sustainable EU budget holds the key to many of the challenges facing Europe. The overarching solution we call for, is to introduce specific reforms to bring the MFF in line with sustainable development, including ambitious implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Unfortunately there is ample evidence and examples which prove that the current MFF is not sustainable, and fails to meet social, environmental, as well as economic objectives. As the work of the High Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance (HLEG) makes clear, reforms are needed to unlock the potential of the MFF to help catalyse sustainable finance.

We call on the European Commission and Member States to meet the challenge of a transformational and more coherent MFF by introducing sustainability proofing  for the next MFF for both internal and external funding. This is also in line with the recommendations of the HLEG, which provide several possibilities, including to ‘sustainability test’ all future EU financial regulations and policies. If done right, sustainability proofing in the MFF will result in improved policy coherence, transformational spending, and fairer access to finance for citizens, including the vulnerable. It can help the MFF deliver on the following ambitions necessary to revive the European project:

• The EU budget should serve the Sustainable Development Goals both inside and outside Europe and be fully in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Charter of Fundamental Rights as well as international human rights standards,
• The European Semester should be transformed to deliver “Annual Sustainable Development Surveys” and help to channel EU funding to the identified priority areas,
• EU funding decisions made upon the EU value added and the measurement of results should be coherent and balanced among all three dimensions of sustainable development at the same time as enshrined in the Treaty,
• The EU budget should strengthen common European values in Europe and globally,
• The EU budget should work for the people and with the people, with greater transparency and meaningful participation of the citizens,
• The EU budget should increase social inclusion and provide financial means to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights,
• EU funding should be catalytic in the transition to circular economy, and prevent any wasteful spending for unsustainable infrastructures like investment in fossil fuels and environmentally harmful practices,
• The EU budget should support the transition to sustainable food, farming and land policy, to restore and maintain ecosystem services and protect our natural resources such as biodiversity and water.

Please read the full position and the Annex with a set of policy recommendations.

5 December 2017

EUGIC 2017 successes

Last week, 29-30 November, the Second European Urban Green Infrastructure Conference took place in Budapest.

The conference brought together professionals from different backgrounds in landscape architecture, nature-based solutions in cities, urban planning and human interactions with nature. Speakers included Laura Gatti, creator of Bosco Verticale in Milan, Marco Fritz from DG Research and Innovation, Rita Mayrhofer from Biotope City, Dominic Regester from Salzburg Global, and Monika Kotulak, our Natura 2000 and Water Policy Officer, as well as many more. Topics discussed included green infrastructure, urban farming, green roofs and nature based solutions in cities!

The two-day program included Horizon 2020 sessions on nature-based solutions in cities, what we have learned from current practices and hopes for the future. More information here.

Our side event with the International Visegrad Fund explored the green and smart futures of cities in Central Europe. This is part of an ongoing collaboration between the four countries; more information here.

More details about the conference can be found here.

Please also check out our press release and conference Declaration on the topic.

4 December 2017

How would your dream city look like?

Participants of the International Visegrad Seminar at the 2nd European Urban Green Infrastructure Conference let their imaginations fly on the event organized by CEEweb.

On 29 November 2017 four partners from the V4 countries gave an introduction into smart and green cities presenting the activities and some good examples collected during the one-year long project that have been carried out in the frame of the “Smart and Green – the Future of Visegrad cities” project. After getting some inspiration and insights on smart and green Visegrad cities from the presentations, participants were invited to be a part of an exciting workshop session with the task to develop a “dream city” which involved brainstorming on urban problems, smart solutions and especially combining those with green solutions. The exciting and creative results were presented by the participants themselves. Like the free and electric bus with solar panel bus stops; access to the riverside in the city by putting the roads in an underground tunnel thus citizens can have direct access to the riverside (e.g. Danube) in the heart of the city; and the common demand of solving the problem of sealed surfaces and creating more greenery in the city…

The workshop was facilitated by Erzsébet Óhegyi (CEEweb for Biodiversity) and the project partners Maria Bihunova (Association for Garden Design and Landscaping), Pavel Dostal (The Czech Landscape Gardening Association) and Marta Weber-Siwirska (Polish Green Roof Association).

The presentations and more information about the project can be acquired here.

The event was supported by the International Visegrad Fund and the European Union.

23 November 2017

Conference about the role of multinationals and the UN in global sustainable development

CEEweb and nov20the National Society of Conservationists – Friends of the Earth Hungary organised a forum in Budapest on 20 November 2017. The event came after the letter of 15 367 scientists, who warned that the world was heading towards an ecological catastrophy and must change its course. The speakers focused on the role of the UN in the global sustainable development process, the critical analysis of the Sustainable Development Goals, and the role of multinationals in protecting human rights and in the light of tax evasion (see the agenda). More than 60 participants attended the event represneting governmental, non-governmental and academic institutions.

The event was organised in the European campaign on sustainable resource use, co-financed by the European Commission.


14 November 2017

Green-GO winners announcement

The 7th Green-GO International Short Film Contest winners have been announced!

The winners of our 500 EUR worth awards are:

– Build Green Live Green (green infrastructure)

Loud Statement by Pavlo Nesterov from the Czech Republic.

Have you ever thought that we replace calm nature parks with loud roads and massive buildings? Just listen. What do you hear now?
Is it a car engine sound, ambulance sirene, street repair works… And what would you like the sound of your future to be?

– Last Day on Earth? (earth overshoot day)

Nature Calls by Harry Vincent from Australia.

Nature Calls is essentially a film on how I imagine the world would treat “Mother Nature” if she was a real person. Day after day we get closer and closer to extinction of thousands of species of animals, we destroy countless acres of beautiful forests and for what? Profit. Mother Nature has been sending us messages for years and years but thanks to peoples complete ignorance and obliviousness, we have done virtually nothing.

– Your Europe in 2050 (EU Budget)

State of Emergency by Victoria Bilash from Germany.

Europe in the past. Europe now. And Europe in the future. The film shows what happens with the Europe if we will keep to be skeptical about environmental issues.

They were carefully selected by our three judges, Dusty Gedge, Klara Hajdu and Monika Kotulak from more than 160 submissions from this year.

We are very happy to announce that the winner of the popular vote with a 200 EUR prize is:

The Future, by Adegoke Todimu, from Nigeria.

Water is Life. 844 Million people globally lacks a basic drinking water service. Water is a natural resource which people see as unlimited thereby leading to the mismanagement and wastage in its use. This short film dwells on the necessity in water management.

You can read more about Green-GO in our press release here.

We hope for similar successes next year!

30 October 2017

INSiGHTS meeting in Croatia

Sustainable Tourism Product Development at INSiGHTS meeting in Croatia

Internal thematic meeting and transnational workshop in Motovun, Croatia

17-20 October 2017

CEEweb attended the 2nd INSiGHTS multilateral walkshop in Motovun, Croatia, hosted by the local partner, LAG Central Istria. The focus of the study was the transnational learning and exchange on green and healthy tourism. Partners were introduced to the best practices of the Central Istria region and led multiple discussions on how stakeholders can realize tourism product development respecting the three, economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainability.

During the three-day event partners discussed progress regarding thematic objectives and deliverables and gained insight into how cyclotourism has pioneered sustainable tourism and mobility in the Central Istrian region. The presentation on sustainable tourism product development, held by Michael Meyer, CEEweb’s external expert for the INSiGHTS project, focused on a more generally applicable framework as part of the capacity building of the piloting partners. He also moderated the thematic sessions of the Critical Classroom where partners shared their deliberations for the SWOT analysis and jointly developed preliminary instruments to address existing and potential challenges the region faces. In addtion, interim results of the comprehensive sustainable tourism good practice collection were presented by Krisztina Campbell.

For more information please visit the project website: http://www.interreg-danube.eu/approved-projects/insights

For a more detailed description of the event please visit this link: http://www.interreg-danube.eu/news-and-events/project-news/1216

And check out our press release: http://www.ceeweb.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/INSiGHTS_PressRelease-Motovun-17-20-10-2017_FINAL.pdf


13 October 2017

New Protocols to the Carpathian Convention adopted

CEEweb was represented by Erzsébet Óhegyi at the COP5 to the Carpathian Convention 10-12 October 2017 in Lillafüred, Hungary. The Conference was highly important as the Carpathian Convention was extended with a new Protocol on Climate Change, moreover, the Protocol on Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development was adopted and signed by Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine. This is a big step further for the protection of our Carpathian Region.

CEEweb was present with an exhibition and a stand for its TRANSGREEN project, which is helping the implementation of the Carpathian Convention and fosters a transport infrastructure in the Carpathians which takes nature into account. Around 150 participants were present on the high-level conference organised by the Carpathian Convention and the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture.