BioAgora took part in the 4th EU Biodiversity Platform (EUBP) meeting on 15-16 November in Brussels, Belgium. The project coordinator Kati Vierikko (Syke) and partner Roxanne Leberger (CREAF) represented the project. As part of the EUBP meeting, the EC organised a workshop dedicated to the priorities for Research and Innovation (R&I) funding in the new Working Programmes of Horizon Europe, which was also attended by BioAgora project partners Sonja Jähnig (IGB) and Katariina E. M. Vuorinen (NINA) along with 20 other participants.
The participants were grouped into four teams by topics:
- Drivers of biodiversity loss
- Biodiversity conservation and restoration
- Biodiversity, society and economy
- Biodiversity crisis and challenges
Each group had to work on three tasks:
- Identify main R&I needs to support the objectives of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and other relevant needs in the R&I landscape not yet sufficiently addressed at EU level.
- Suitability of different types of research actions (fundamental research, development of technologies, demonstration, coordination and support, etc.) to pursue different long-term objectives.
- Ways in which cross-cutting approaches – such as social sciences and humanities , social innovation, international cooperation, gender, citizen science, open and FAIR data, and the Do-No-Significant-Harm principle – should be featured in the forthcoming Horizon Europe work programmes.
Workshop on the priorities for Research and Innovation funding
The participants raised the importance of FAIR data and making data available. They requested that the documentation of all restoration and management activities must acknowledge the methods that work and the ones that don’t, as well as their cost. They also stressed the importance of considering hidden biodiversity, such as freshwater biodiversity, microbial diversity and soil biota. Monitoring schemes need to cover these essential elements along with environmental data being measured at the same location and the same time.
One of the main issues identified during the meeting is the lack of common wording among different sectors for biodiversity protection. We already know quite well the main drivers for biodiversity loss but there is a need for analysis of the socio-economic structures, cultural models, and practices that are behind these drivers.
Participants also pointed out that it’s important to identify knowledge needs in an interdisciplinary context, not just in the natural science context. BioAgora’s representatives brought up the knowledge needed in degrowth research and environmental psychology that may have a crucial role in solving the biodiversity crisis.
Discussions on biodiversity at the EUBP meeting
On the next day, the 4th edition of the EUBP meeting discussed the National Biodiversity Strategies by which the Member States presented the progress on implementing the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030.The participants pondered how to further improve EUBP meetings and links with other policy areas. They discussed the upcoming progress assessment of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the ongoing work on biodiversity monitoring and assessment.
BioAgora will be taking a more active role in the EUBP, informing the scientific community about the topics of EUBP meetings. It will organise a side-event during the next EUBP meeting planned for April 2024, which will aim to continue discussions on improving EU biodiversity governance in key areas and further build on the findings of the governance effectiveness assessment tentatively planned for 2024.
The meeting also introduced the EUBP working plan for 2024, which includes information and discussions on the ongoing work of the EC Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity and its Science Service for Biodiversity. In particular, science-policy requests for synthesis of existing knowledge or evidence, as well as identification of research needs, to fill knowledge gaps. The EC presented updates on Horizon Europe calls and projects.
Minutes and presentations of the 4th EUBP meeting can be found on CIRCABC.