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Major EU research project kicks off on ecosystem management

Several leading research institutions and organizations working in Europe including UNEP met in Torino, Italy on 25-26 June to launch the recently-approved ECOPOTENTIAL project on the management of protected areas.

About 120 researchers and project participants from all over the continent and beyond attended the meeting to discuss the upcoming work and concrete research needs under the project, which is funded under the EU research programme Horizon2020.

During the event, UNEP’s Deputy Regional Director for Europe Ms. Sylvie Motard presented the UN’s environment authority role in ECOPOTENTIAL and the upcoming work UNEP will lead on an interface between scientists and policy makers.

Together with collaborating centres GRID-Arendal, GRID-Warsaw, GRID-Geneva and WCMC, UNEP is part of a 47-strong consortium that will focus on activities focusing on research and linking scientific expertise with policy-making, including in key selected hotspots of biological diversity or Protected Areas (PAs) in Europe over the next four years.

In autumn 2015, UNEP and its co-leading partners (WCMC, GRID-Arendal, UFZ,TdV and others) will host a major workshop in Geneva in the context of the project to discuss upcoming deliverables on science-policy and communication/capacity building.

ECOPOTENTIAL aims to ensure that Earth Observation and Monitoring Data can be used in a new unified framework for ecosystem studies to be used when managing PAs. The project will focus on internationally-recognized areas of high ecological importance in Europe and beyond, with most being UNESCO World Natural Heritage Sites, Biosphere Reserves, national parks and Natura 2000 sites. Best use of Earth Observation and monitoring data will also be made possible by new the open-access ecosystem data services ECOPERNICUS. In this vein, the project will make an important contribution to work carried out by the Group on Earth Observation and UNEP Live.

With a budget of approximately €15 million, the ECOPOTENTIAL project is of major strategic importance to the European Commission.


For more information, please contact : Mr. Matthias Jurek (Technical Coordinator)
or Mr. Thierry Lucas

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