Participation of the project LIFE Natura2000Value Crete in the EU LIFE Platform meeting "COSTING THE EARTH? - translating the ecosystem services concept into practical decision making”

Event date

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 - 11:00 to Friday, May 12, 2017 - 18:00

On the 10th to the 12th of May 2017, the EU LIFE Programme, together with LIFE Viva Grass project held an Ecosystem Services Platform meeting entitled “COSTING THE EARTH? - translating the ecosystem services concept into practical decision making”. The project LIFE Natura2000Value Crete participated in the meeting and the Project Coordinator, Dr. Michalis Probonas presented the completed and the forthcoming actions of the communication strategy. 

Information on the meeting

Despite widespread conservation efforts there is a growing argument that traditional approaches have failed to stem the tide of biodiversity loss. One potential solution, increasing in popularity as well as generating controversy, is to assign values to the benefits that ecosystems provide for humanity (ecosystem services), and to incorporate these into conservation and management decision-making.

Target 2 of the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2020 seeks to maintain and restore ecosystems and their services across the member states with obvious shared benefits in relation to climate change and the wider environment. In October 2015, the European Commission published a Mid Term Review of the Strategy. The report concluded that progress has been made on policy and knowledge improvement actions under this target and some restoration activities have taken place in Member States. However, this has not yet halted the trend of degradation of ecosystems and their services.

This Platform Meeting, hosted by the Baltic Environmental Forum under the auspices of the LIFE 13 Viva Grass Project*, tried to showcase a variety of restoration techniques, innovative approaches to improving our knowledge and understanding of ecosystem services, new management initiatives and governance challenges facing the member states. The event provided answers and solutions which may be instrumental in overcoming some of the key barriers and bottlenecks to halting biodiversity loss throughout Europe.

The project-based approach of the EU LIFE programme has proved a good fit with nature conservation policies, providing practical examples of sustainable and equitable ways of maintaining and restoring ecosystems. The meeting was organised around three key themes:

  • Defining/mapping ecosystem services: we explore the role that LIFE projects play in developing, testing and applying different tools and methods.
  • Valuing ecosystem services: we will discuss the methods developed for valuation, outcomes and findings from valuations, barriers and look at some practical examples from LIFE projects.
  • Application of the ecosystem services concept in decision making: how can we take the lessons learnt from the LIFE projects and use the results to inform policy.

The meeting explored these three themes, visited locations in Estonia where the participants were given the chance to see examples of issues relating to ecosystem services in both rural and urban environments, and see some practical solutions. In the workshop sessions, common solutions and practices were explored. The conclusions of the meeting will be transmitted to the Natural Capital Directorate in the European Commission’s DG Environment and other relevant policymakers.