Winning at LIFE – Day Three roundup
There were no signs of slowing down as we reached the mid-way point of #EUGreenWeek 2020. Beside talks on nature and biodiversity, winners of the most innovative, inspirational and effective LIFE projects were revealed today at the LIFE Awards ceremony.
Partner Events included seminars and sessions on sustainability in schools and cities, social agriculture, and opportunities to improve biodiversity and increase natural spaces through environmental connectivity.
Quote of the day
The outbreak of Covid 19 has shone a spotlight on our relationship with the natural world. We need to restore nature for human health and wellbeing, to reverse biodiversity loss and to help solve the climate crisis. But it is crucial that restoration goes on top of cutting fossil fuel emissions and not used as an excuse for doing less.
Ester Asin, Director at WWF European Policy Office
Today around Europe
During today’s conference in Brussels, participants were sure to find something to spark their interest, with over 20 different sessions on offer. The variety of talks to choose from included topics such as nature restoration, unlocking finance for biodiversity and the launch of the Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity.
21 October (15:15-16:15) – LIFE Awards
During the LIFE Awards ceremony, the most innovative, inspirational and effective projects in the fields of nature protection, environment and climate action were recognized.
15 finalists were selected for this year’s Awards in three categories. The winners of the Environment category were FLAW4LIFE (Portugal), the Climate Action category FIRELIFE (Hungary) and the Nature Protection category LIFE DINALP BEAR (a cross-border project in Slovenia, Austria, Croatia and Italy).
FLAW4LIFE also received the highest number of public votes and was awarded the Citizen’s Prize.
This year, a special award honoured prepAIR (Italy) as an outstanding project that helped communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since its launch in 1992, LIFE – the EU funding instrument for the environment and climate action – has co-financed more than 4,600 projects that have contributed to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental and climate policy and legislation.
Find out more about the winners and finalists here.
21 October (16:30 – 18:45) – Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity
The European Commission, in close cooperation with the EEA, discussed the launch of the new Biodiversity Knowledge Centre, during this double session entitled ‘Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Biodiversity (But Were Afraid To Ask)’.
In line with the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, talks focused on how the centre will track and assess progress, and integrate biodiversity and ecosystem services into decision-making.
The roundtable discussion that followed included panelists from the European Commission and EEA, as well as Corli Pretorius (Deputy Director of UNEP-WCMC), Jane Smart (Global Director, IUCN Biodiversity Group and Director, Global Species Programme, IUCN), and Marc Abadie (President, CDC Biodiversité).
#EUGreenWeek Partner Events continued throughout the day and put the spotlight on social agriculture, connecting through green spaces and biodiversity in schools and cities.
21 October (9:30-18:30) - Sustainability and Biodiversity in Portugal
Organised by the Instituto Politécnico de Viseu in Portugal, this all-day event explored sustainability and biodiversity in schools and cities – including examples like eco-school projects.
Encouraging people to think outside of the box, speakers outlined how tourism could be used as a tool for biodiversity conservation in schools and cities. During the discussions, speakers shared best practices and highlighted how biodiversity can contribute to sustainable growth and an improved quality of life.
By highlighting achievements in sustainability – like successful recycling, tree-planting and urban art waste recovery programmes – participants were inspired to exchange valuable ideas, and support actions like sustainable consumption and recycling.
21 October (10:00-11:30) - Social agriculture
This awareness-raising seminar, aimed at NGOs and local and regional decision makers, highlighted the important role Work Integration Social Enterprises (WISEs) can play in protecting biodiversity.
Dr. Mátyás Szabó (policy officer at DG AGRI, European Commission) showcased WISEs as a key example of enterprises working towards biodiversity protection, through approaches that respect the environment. WISEs also ensures social justice, fairness and inclusiveness.
By sharing good practices across Europe, speakers from Italy, Hungary and Romania were able to explain how a WISE model of working could be developed to become a viable solution throughout the EU.
The Q&A session allowed participants to connect with speakers and gain further insight into how a WISE-based approach benefits biodiversity.
21 October (10:15-14:00) - Getting connected through green spaces
Organised by Comunidad de Madrid, this seminar on biodiversity, environmental connectivity and the Natura Network raised awareness of the Arco Verde project among the academic community and the general public.
Speakers shared success stories and identified opportunities to improve biodiversity, increase natural green spaces, and encourage sustainable mobility – all of which combat climate change.
Discussions highlighted plans to connect 26 municipalities with 3 regional parks, which will create a large Green Corridor surrounding Madrid.
21 October (12:00-14:00) - Clean water for rich biodiversity in Sibiu, Romania
Growing environmental concerns are not lost on the Sibu water treatment plant in Romania. Their advanced technologies increase sustainability and mitigate the impact of the water waste treatment process.
Today, students were able to go on a virtual journey to uncover how the facility complies with EU water laws, to provide clean, safe and sustainable drinking water and wastewater services.
Speakers shared real-life examples to convey the fragile balance between man and nature. This helped attendees understand the importance of actions like releasing only treated water to protect the biodiversity of the river and surrounding nature.
Coming up tomorrow
The excitement continues tomorrow with a Call to Action for a biodiverse planet from youth advocacy group Biodiversity Action Europe.
Other highlights include a session on boosting biodiversity through a circular economy, sound advice from Finnish super nature cities, and an opportunity for teachers get closer to nature with forestry training.