Events on Ecosystem Services and Nature-based Solutions in Israel

Ecosystem Services and Nature-based Solutions

Nature-based Solutions Conference, Israel, Febuary 2018

In February 2018, the national conference “Ecosystem Services - from theory to practice in the Israeli context”, was organized at the IDC Herzliya School of Sustainability, by Dr Shiri Zemah Shamir, Dr Alon Lotan from the Maarag - Israel’s National Nature Assessment Program, the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History and the Advanced School for Environmental Studies. Dr. Emmanuelle Cohen-Shacham, the thematic group lead for Nature-based Solutions (NbS) at the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM) gave the keynote presentation, providing a general overview on the Ecosystem Services concept today and in a global context. During the conference, several case studies that utilize the ecosystem services concept in research and planning in Israel, were presented, and a panel of Israeli high-level policy makers discussed the concept’s use in planning and decision-making processes, in the Israeli context.

An introductory workshop on Nature-based Solutions, followed by a discussion, was led by Emmanuelle at the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, in Tel-Aviv University, Israel. The workshop, organized by Prof. Tamar Dayan and Prof. Eran Feitelson, was intended to expose the local Israeli stakeholders to Nature-based Solutions and discuss the IUCN framework for NbS, with Israeli researchers and decision-makers. 

Nature-based Solutions (NbS) were defined by the IUCN “as actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems, that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits”. The major societal challenges that NbS are designed to address include food security, climate change, water security, human health, disaster risk, and social and economic development. In the past few years, the IUCN and the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM) have developed the definitional framework for NbS, considering it as an umbrella approach for a number of ecosystem-based concepts (e.g. ecological restoration, ecosystem-based mitigation, green infrastructure, forest landscape restoration). A series of 8 principles were developed and approved during the 2016 Hawaii World Conservation Congress (Resolution 69). The IUCN and CEM published a book on “Nature-based Solutions to address global societal challenges”, in which the NbS framework is explained in detail and in which examples for NbS interventions in different geographic contexts.

Emmanuelle is the Nature-based Solutions Thematic Group lead at IUCN’s Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM). She previously led the IUCN CEM Ecosystem Services Thematic Group for four years. She works at the interface between research, policy and practice, in the fields of nature conservation, environmental sciences and policy. She holds an MSc in Environmental Sciences from Wageningen University, The Netherlands, and a PhD from Tel-Aviv University, Israel. Her PhD thesis focused on the link between ecosystem services and ecosystem management in Mediterranean wetlands, comparing the Hula Wetland in Israel to the Camargue Wetland in France.

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