Despite progress since the global adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1992, the world still faces unprecedented species extinction.
Biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation pose major risks to human survival and sustainable development. Therefore, it’s necessary to act urgently and recognise the importance of conservation in protecting human health.
To do so, mainstreaming biodiversity into European and national development plans is crucial. Biodiversity cannot be treated as a stand-alone issue, but rather it requires a deep engagement with development sectors and actors to address the root causes, unlock funding, and set in motion a new, strengthened governance framework.
The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) called for transformative change in its 2019 report, intended as a fundamental system-wide, reorganisation across technological, economic, and social factors. But this requires the construction of a new R&I community on the theme.
In this respect, the Research Executive Agency (REA) –which manages EU research grants– has funded several European research projects on Transformative Change for Biodiversity and invited them to collaborate and create synergies, acting in a cluster. The role of the cluster is to elaborate on the main challenges, reflect on new concepts and approaches and propose solutions to overcome barriers. The main goal is to provide outputs, options and evidence for policymakers to accelerate transformative change for biodiversity, and to conceive new or stepped-up action for the EU Biodiversity Strategy ahead of 2030.
On 17 March 2023, REA “Biodiversity, Circular Economy and Environment” unit in close collaboration with the Directorate General for Research and Innovation, organised the first in-person clustering event in Brussels. The event brought together representatives of 11 Horizon Europe-funded projects that are at the core of the cluster, among which BioValue project, key representatives from 6 flagship projects and initiatives, as well as policy officers from the Directorate General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) and the Directorate General for Environment (DG ENV).
One key topic that clearly emerged from the meeting was the urgency for all the cluster projects to disseminate knowledge and provide guidelines to meet IPBES 2019-2030 work programme. Therefore, joining forces and sharing available resources and tools is crucial.
In particular, the cluster projects were invited to leverage their research results to deliver input in designing the Transformative Change Assessment and the Business and Biodiversity Assessment included in the IPBES 2019-2030 work programme. The first one focuses on the underlying causes of biodiversity loss, determinants of transformative change and viable options. The second one is aimed at categorizing how, and how much, businesses depend on, and impact, biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people.
The two assessments will contribute to informing policymakers and guiding decision-making in the context of the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity, national biodiversity strategies and action plans.
To timely address REA requests, in the next six months, BioValue and BioAgora projects will be in charge of designing a common strategy for approaching transformative change, stimulating clustering activities, and mainstreaming the discussion about biodiversity crisis and biodiversity preservation.
Thanks to this joint approach, action in favour of biodiversity will be more effective and impactful.
Image credits: mathisprod from Adobe Stock