IEEP at the European Biodiversity Observation Network (EU BON) final conference

Held at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels and Bouchout Castle in Meise Botanic Garden from 14 to 16 March, the European Biodiversity Observation Network (EU BON) held its final conference, attended by project partners, research institutions, EU policy-makers and citizen science coordinators. The EU BON project, which began in December 2012 and will end in May 2017, was funded by the EU 7th Framework Programme. It brought together 31 partners from research organisations in 18 countries to develop new platforms and tools to facilitate the integration and use of biodiversity information sources.

IEEP contributed by analysing the use of biodiversity data to inform EU Member States’ Rural Development Programmes, and its use in environmental impact assessments and spatial planning, and highlighting good practices and barriers. IEEP’s work will be published on the EU BON website soon.

The meeting attracted high-profile policy-makers including European Environment Agency representatives, who summarised EU BON’s progress, presenting new tools for biodiversity data analysis and monitoring and how they contribute to informing decision-making. The tools were presented in interactive workshops, and participants discussed options for ensuring the sustainability of EU BON’s outputs and further cooperation.

A panel discussion featuring policy and citizen science stakeholders evaluated the contribution EU BON has made to their sectors, and considered that these tools have great potential. They include the European Biodiversity Portal, an open-access gateway to a large number of data repositories; GeoCAT, which facilitates the process of adding species to the IUCN Red List; PlutoF, a data mobilisation and curation platform; ARPHA-Biodiv , a toolbox for the publishing and dissemination of biodiversity data, and many more. EU BON has also produced six policy briefs on Essential Biodiversity Variables, monitoring and the European Biodiversity Portal for policy support. EU BON project partners hope to further increase policy contributions, and current efforts include mapping the ways its outputs address the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

From IEEP’s perspective, this meeting was a valuable opportunity to see the project’s innovative approaches and tools that have been used to collate and analyse biodiversity data, in support of scientific research and policy development and assessment. Many of the tools developed through the EU BON project will make a valuable contribution to species mapping and assessment, and support wider integration of data at the EU and global levels thereby enabling better decision-making.

For further information, contact Graham Tucker.