Europe’s researchers discuss post-2020 biodiversity policy

During a conference this week Europe’s ecosystem researchers formulated key messages to help shape Europe’s future biodiversity strategy.

Next year the EU biodiversity strategy towards 2020 comes to an end. Current signs are that its objectives will not all be met. As was recently confirmed by a UN assessment biodiversity worldwide is still in decline and many species face extinction in the short term. More than ever immediate action is needed from all to help change the future, change our behaviour and transform society.

Some 100 researchers from natural and social sciences as well as policymakers and civil society organizations gathered in this year’s ALTER-Net/EKLIPSE conference to develop science-based recommendations for the European Commission. These should feed into the biodiversity policy beyond 2020. ALTER-Net is Europe’s ecosystem research network and EKLIPSE is a European biodiversity science-policy interface under development. As a science-policy-society knowledge broker, Delbaere Consulting is an ALTER-Net member and actively contributed to formulating the policy messages.

The many presentations, workshops and debates during the three-day conference in Ghent (Belgium) covered a wide range of topics, from global assessments to local citizen-based initiatives, from green infrastructure to democratization of research. A red line throughout the conference was that, apart from the doomy picture of the state of biodiversity, there is a need for more inclusiveness, stakeholder involvement, science-based decision making, integration of biodiversity concerns into other policy sectors and with society, and emotional connection to nature.

During an interactive session key messages were discussed and reformulated, messages that will be further refined during the next weeks and then communicated to the European policymakers and the interested public in autumn 2019.