Positive Visions for Biodiversity - Creating European Strategy

A conference in Belgium invited 230 guests from 43 countries to 'brainstorm' on Europe's biodiversity research strategy. CEC member Anne Franklin shares this report on the event, also attended by Katalin Czippan, CEC Regional Vice-Chair for Europe.

Julie Buttier of France won the comic strip contest conducted as part of a November 2010 conference organized by the Belgian Biodiversity Platform.

By Dr. Articus-Lepage and Dr. Anne Franklin

How would we like to see our lives in 2050? What are our dreams for the future if we permit ourselves a positive vision for biodiversity?

Under this positive attitude 230 participants tackled the biodiversity crisis during a two-day conference 16 and17 November 2010 in Brussels organised by the Belgian Biodiversity Platform.

The participants came from various sectors and all played a leading role as stakeholder in their country as economists, artists, architects, philosophers, politicians, and scientists. They presented the wishes of society for our future regarding biodiversity. During a concerted brainstorming process, called the 21st Century Town Hall method and animated by the facilitator “Global Voices”, the participants defined 10 main visions and the necessary steps to achieve these goals.

This stakeholder’s conference was followed by an EPBRS meeting on 18 and 19 November 2010 by leading European scientists in order to discuss the research strategy in Europe. They analysed how biodiversity research can be shaped to meet best the challenges identified by the conference.

The conferences identified ten visions themes:

  1. Governance that is more transparent and effective and that balances global and local responsibilities
  2. Sustainable and participatory management of land, seascapes and urban areas
  3. A sustainable human population
  4. High technology that is used to build a low tech world that enhances and protects biodiversity
  5. Sustainable renewable energy and transportation
  6. Sustainable food production, using minimum energy and resources
  7. Efficient use of resources through responsible production and consumption, recycling and eliminating waste
  8. The integration of biodiversity into every part of life
  9. Transforming the economic paradigm to reflect fully biodiversity and human values
  10. Values and behaviours appropriate to a more harmonious way of life.

Staying positive while observing how fast biodiversity is decreasing and what damage this will bring to society is not obvious. However, it is probably the best way for keeping on finding solutions, for believing in that change is possible and to mobilise people.

This conference was really inspiring and it motivated participants to take their role within their networks to work towards a positive future. The conference website and Facebook page will function as a discussion forum to stimulate actions. The reports from the conference, as well as the comic strip contest on biodiversity, which took place in connection to the conference, are accessible on the conference website.

The event was organised by the Belgian Biodiversity Platform, the Belgian Science Policy Office, and the Steering Committee of the European Platform for Biodiversity Research Strategy. It was delivered in partnership with the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, the Department of Economy, Science and Innovation of the Flemish Government (EWI), the French Foundation for Biodiversity Research (FRB) the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme (MAB), the Biostrat project and the European Commission. It was also sponsored by Greenfacts and Thalys. The event was held in the context of the International Year of Biodiversity and with the support of the Belgian Presidency of the European Union.

For more information, contact Dr. Estelle Balian at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, [email protected]


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