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Biodiversity Newsflash issue n°73

Biodiversity Newsflash 73 - June 2017 Edition


Biodiversity Newsflash 73

June 2017


1 | Review of the IPBES assessments by Belgian experts
On 24th May, the IPBES (Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) Belgian Focal Point organised a workshop to prepare for the ongoing review of the 4 Regional Assessments, and the Land Degradation and Restoration Assessment.
The purpose of the workshop was to:
  • update experts on the last year's progress of the IPBES Work Programme
  • provide background information on IPBES assessments and their review, and explain how to engage
  • discuss main features of a high-quality assessment
  • collect first feedback on the Regional Assessments, and Land degradation and restoration assessment to feed the Belgian government review
The presentations and full report on the workshop are now available.

Please contact Hilde Eggermont for more information.
2 | Opportunity to contribute to Sutherland's 2018 Horizon Scan for Global Conservation and Biological Diversity
BiodivERsA is a network of national and regional funding organisations promoting pan-European research on biodiversity and ecosystem services. BiodivERsA has been invited to participate in the horizon scanning exercise driven by William J. Sutherland to identify emerging issues for Global conservation and biological diversity.

The objective of this exercise is to identify emerging topics that are not yet widely known or understood in the conservation community but that could have substantial effects on biological diversity worldwide in the medium to long term.

For the 2018 horizon scanning exercise BiodivERsA will collect and present a number of emerging topics that you could help to identify (keeping ownership on the proposed topic of course). In this context, and as a Belgian scientist or other stakeholder benefiting from BiodivERsA-funded research, we invite you to submit topics that you find particularly relevant for this exercise, together with short rationales (150-200 words max.) explaining why this topic is important, and to what extent it represents an opportunity or a risk.

If you want to participate to this exercise, please provide us no later than 25 June 12:00 CEST with a topic title and rationales using the following link.

Please contact Hilde Eggermont for more information.

Check the outputs of the 2017 horizon scan.
Check the list of topics selected since 2008.
3 | CEBioS Info session on the Nagoya protocol and its application in the context of development cooperation on 29th June
For researchers of fauna and flora worldwide, the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol and the associated system of Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) has major consequences for their way of working.

Belgian researchers, some of whom work in the context of development cooperation, have to apply it for their own work or for the work of visiting scientists from partner countries. Partner countries of development cooperation do not always have an in-depth understanding of the treaties they have signed and most still need to develop any legislation for their implementation. Capacity building in this regard therefore seems necessary.

CEBioS, together with the National Focal Point for the CBD and other partners, takes up the glove and focuses on the D.R. Congo where the implementation of the Protocol still has to be developed and where many Belgian researchers are active. Time to review the principles and consequences of this important Protocol.

More information here.

Van der Avort Annemarie

When ? 29th of June 2017
Where ? DGD, Meeting room DR08, Karmelietenstraat 15, 1000 Brussels
4 | Report of the Foresight workshop on "Social Innovation and Nature-based solutions"
The Knowledge and Learning Mechanism on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (EKLIPSE), the European Platform for Biodiversity Research Strategies (EPBRS) and BiodivERsA jointly organised a foresight workshop in Brussels on 6-7 December 2016 on « Social Innovation and Nature-based solutions: What research is needed to face future societal challenges and emerging issues? »

The aim of this participatory workshop was to explore how Nature-based solutions (NBS) can be a response to, or a catalyst for, social innovation to address emerging issues in relation to:
  • human well-being and health,
  • governance strategies,
  • land planning and management, and
  • restoration
The identified emerging issues and research priorities will feed into current and future debates and reflections on research and innovation policy and priorities at EU level. Several follow-up activities are also scheduled, including the drafting of a 'science brief', testimonial videos, and a webinar on Nature-based solutions.
Full report can be downloaded "here"

Please contact Estelle Balian for more information.
5 | BiodivERsA Newsletter - June edition
In this newsletter, in addition to information on the BiodivERsA SRIA, implementation plan and future activities, you will also learn more about the engagement of BiodivERsA with ThinkNature, the multi-stakeholder dialogue platform on Nature-based Solutions. A new section of the newsletter has been initiated to highlight the impacts of BiodivERsA-funded projects. This time, you will discover the societal outputs of the BUFFER project and scientific outputs of the LIMNOTIP project, two projects funded through the 2011-2012 BiodivERsA call. Finally, this newsletter highlights the profile of two BiodivERsA partners who recently joined the network, i.e. the Academy of Finland and the Regional Fund for Science and Technology of Azores, Portugal.

Please contact Hilde Eggermont for more information.
6 | Launch of the GBIF Ebbe Nielsen Challenge 2017
The 2017 GBIF Ebbe Nielsen Challenge will award a total of €14,000 to developers and data scientists who create tools capable of liberating species records from open data repositories for scientific discovery and reuse.

The 2017 GBIF Ebbe Nielsen Challenge seeks submissions that repurpose these datasets and adapting them into the Darwin Core Archive format (DwC-A), the interoperable and reusable standard that powers the publication of almost 800 million species occurrence records from the nearly 1,000 worldwide institutions now active in the GBIF network.

The 2017 Ebbe Nielsen Challenge will task developers and data scientists to create web applications, scripts or other tools that automate the discovery and extraction of relevant biodiversity data from open data repositories. Such tools might generate datasets ready for publication on by:
  1. Automating searches and effectively mining the information needed to generate checklists, species occurrence and sampling-event datasets (e.g. scientific names, date and location of occurrence et al.) from open data available in public repositories
  2. Mapping datasets’ column headings and/or contents with relevant Darwin Core terms
  3. Routinely converting the reformatted data into standard Darwin Core archive formats ready for publication through
More information about eligibility and requirement here or contact André Heughebaert.
7 | Review experts for the 6th Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-6)
The first 9 chapters of the Global Environment Outlook (GEO 6), will be available for intergovernmental review during the period 3 July to 15 September 2017.

Following themes will be covered:
  • Introduction and context;
  • Drivers of environmental change;
  • The state of our data and knowledge;
  • Links between the environment and other sustainability issues;
  • Air, Fresh Water, Oceans, Land, Biodiversity.
Governments are now requested to nominate their experts by 30 June. In case you are interested to act as reviewer, please send an email to Eline Bott by 25th June at the very latest.

More information is provided in the letter from the UNEP executive director Solheim.
8 | Three questions to Hilde Eggermont, Coordinator of the Belgian Biodiversity Platform and Vice-Chair of the BiodivERsA ERA-net

1. Could you please describe BiodivERsA?

BiodivERsA is a network of 32 agencies and ministries from 21 European countries programming and funding pan-European research on biodiversity and ecosystem services on a competitive basis. It is an ERA-NET Co-fund, funded under the EU’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. For Belgium, both the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO) and the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) are partners in the network.

Since its beginning in 2005, BiodivERsA has launched 6 calls for proposals for a total amount of 160 million euro to fund around 70 pan-European research projects selected for both their scientific excellence and societal/policy relevance. As such, many Belgian scientists have already benefited from it! In addition, to further strengthen the European Research Area on biodiversity and ecosystem services, BiodivERsA has further developed a great diversity of activities ranging from research mapping and programming, to stakeholder engagement, dissemination of projects’ outputs and knowledge brokerage.
As you can see, the network is very active and ever growing! Nowadays - it does not only include partners from the European mainland, but also from the Overseas.

2. What's the role of the Belgian Biodiversity Platform in such a network?

The Belgian Biodiversity Platform carries out a variety of BiodivERsA tasks - both as Work package and Task leader - on behalf of the Belgian Science Policy Office since 2005. We are mainly focusing on mapping activities (e.g. we are managing the BiodivERsA database currently documenting over 12,000 biodiversity projects across Europe), science-policy interfacing activities (e.g. we are leading the task on policybrief development) and communication on both the funded-projects and the BiodivERsA network itself.

As member of the Executive Board and by hosting one of the Vice Chairs, the Belgian Biodiversity Platform plays a crucial role in setting strategic direction for the network.

3. What are your plans for the future of BiodivERsA?

We hope the Belgian Biodiversity Platform can keep its key role in the consortium. It is a very rewarding network to be engaged in, with a great and visible impact on both science and policy! Over the coming years, we hope to further reinforce BiodivERsA’s capacity to promote science-society and science-policy interfacing throughout the whole research process. We also plan to implement new activities to promote internationalisation of biodiversity research, and promoting open access to data. Holding the national focal points of both IPBES and GBIF, the Belgian Biodiversity Platform is very well placed to do so. Last but not least, as Vice-Chair, I will do my very best to ensure a sustainable future. Hopefully, Belgian funding agencies will keep investing in this ever growing network!
© 2017 Belgian Biodiversity Platform, All rights reserved.
‘Biodiversity Newsflash’ is published by the Belgian Biodiversity Platform, an initiative by the
Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO)

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last modified on 20 Jun 2017