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ENRD at ‘Mainstreaming ecosystem services into EU regulatory frameworks’ workshop,
22 January 2014, Brussels, Belgium


The ENRD CP participated in a workshop held as part of the stakeholders consultation process of the FP7 OpenNESS project.

The workshop identified crucial dimensions for effectively integrating and mainstreaming the concepts of Ecosystem Services (ES) and Natural Capital (NC) into policy-making at the EU level.

 The workshop was organized by the partners involved in the FP7 project led by the Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Germany.

Participants included some 30 people amongst which a number of project partners, researchers, EU officials  and  international organisations.

Main findings

OpenNESS is a European research project (35 partners, including 10 SMEs, from 14 EU and non-EU countries) that aims to translate the concept of ES and NC into operational frameworks and decision-making tools. It examines how these concepts are linked to and support EU sectoral and cross-sectoral policies, examining their potential and limitations. The project is designed around a case study approach and the involvement of public and private stakeholders. It is expected to deliver an interactive online application, approaches and best practices to be used as practical tools for decision-making.

The workshop’s focused on a scenario exercise in which participants were asked to anticipate likely future developments in four key policy areas (Urban/rural, Environmental, Agriculture, R&D) according to a different scenarios. The discussion highlighed the major role of EU agricultural policy in providing nature-based solution to future development issues; the likely specialisation of vocational-areas across the EU (e.g. intensive agricultural areas vs. nature conservation areas); the need of a cross-sectoral approach to deliver environmental benefits and the increased integration of different policy initiatives. Overall the potential role of Rural Development policy as part of the CAP was not fully captured by the discussion. Interestingly it was more reflected in the considerations of the relationship between urban and rural areas (considered as single policy field).

The second part of the afternoon session focused on mapping the knowledge needs for understanding and applying the concept of ES to policy design and implementation. One key point which strongly emerged from the discussion was the need to “operationalise” the definition of ES and communicate it to key policy players (e.g. farmers). In this respect the role of intermediaries or “knowledge brokers” was highlighted as crucial.