Ecological Networks to Safeguard Biodiversity and Human Wellbeing

28 September 2010 | News story

Strasbourg (France) – Biodiversity plays an immense role in maintaining natural processes and delivering numerous essential ecosystem services to human society. Favourable conservation status of wild flora and fauna is therefore essential not only for securing healthy ecosystems but human wellbeing too. “We have to employ the best of our knowledge while setting up and applying conservation tools such as protected areas and ecological networks. In order effectively to do so, on the ground conservation efforts have to be backed with well defined and commonly agreed policies”, says Boris Erg, Director of IUCN Programme Office for South-Eastern Europe.

These were among the key discussions held during the 2nd meeting of the Group of Experts on Protected Areas and Ecological Networks that took place in Strasbourg on 14-15 September 2010. The two-day meeting was aimed at reporting on the state of the progress towards the setting-up of the Emerald Network, discussions on the implementation of the Pan-European Ecological Network, as well as informing on key events between the two meetings of the Group of Experts. Convened by the Secretariat of the Bern Convention, the meeting brought together officials from the Council of Europe, the European Union, and other international agreements on biodiversity, IUCN, as well as representatives of Contracting Parties and Observer states and NGOs to the Bern Convention.

Ecological networks prove to be one of the most effective known conservation tools, yet complex due to various sectoral policies that need to be harmonized. Well designed ecological networks are essential for increasing the resilience of natural ecosystems, thus helping us both to develop adequate adaptation strategies and mitigate the negative effects of climate change. However, the participants at the meeting agreed upon and sent a clear message that closer cooperation among various sectors and better harmonization of policies is required for the comprehensive ecological networks to be fully in place and effective.                                                                                               

The Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats is a Council of Europe binding treaty to foster the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity in Europe. The designation of protected areas is a cornerstone for the conservation of biodiversity. Since 1996 the Council of Europe is working on the setting-up of the Emerald Network, an ecological network of protected areas which provides a model for conserving biodiversity, based on ecological principles, while allowing a degree of human exploitation of the landscape. The Emerald Network is to be set up in each Contracting Party and observer state to the Bern Convention.

For more information:

Boris Erg, IUCN Programme Office for South-Eastern Europe, boris.erg@iucn.org