Enriching Biodiversity Academy

Spending three sunny days in Budapest to attend a European Biodiversity Academy is time well spent. This one focused on Europe’s biodiversity beyond 2020, the year in which the EU and global biodiversity targets to halt biodiversity loss should be achieved.

The event was jointly organised by two European NGOs (CEEweb and Eurosite) with support of the European research project EKLIPSE. A first day was devoted to presentations on the science-policy-practice interaction for biodiversity and ecosystem services (the EKLIPSE project) and the way in which nature restoration is covered by EU policies. We heard presentations on funding for nature-based solutions through the EU Horizon 2020 programme and discussed water retention measures by working with nature. And we were informed about the importance of privately protected areas and the protection of crop wild relatives. These presentations were mixed with small group sessions on topics such as risk based decision-making, management planning guidance, and wetland restoration through ecosystem services.

During a field trip on day two, the problems that the national park Kiskunság faces with regard to water management and the solutions to it were presented.

The Academy was combined with the annual meetings of both organisations and provided a means for their members to help further develop the European networks. Some 60 people working on or interested in managing natural areas attended the meeting, bringing together expertise and experience (and lovely food!) from almost 20 European countries and the European Commission.

Above all, the event was an excellent occasion to meet old friends and make new ones, to be updated on recent developments, to jointly make new plans and to shape Eurosite and CEEweb.