European Newsletter
July 2013
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Dear Members, Dear Readers,

It is a great pleasure to introduce the European Newsletter for the first time since I took office as Director of the IUCN European Union Representative Office in Brussels.


The current economic crisis which the European Union is facing seems to supersede the need for environmental action. But the EU and its Members States are at a turning point, and need to better understand the enormous potential which nature-based solutions can bring to help ensure jobs and economic development.


The EU and the Member States have set ambitious targets in the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy and, as time flies, there is a need to speed up action to achieve them. 


The EU Representative Office will strengthen the science-policy role of IUCN in Brussels by informing and advising EU policy-makers on natural solutions... 


Editorial by Luc Bas, Director of IUCN European Union Representative Office

> Read more
> Interview: 3 questions to...Luc Bas
Luc Bas

URBES for cities and biodiversity

Since January 2012, IUCN has worked with a large partnership of academic institutions and organizations on the research project URBES (URban Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) which aims at bridging the knowledge gap on urbanisation processes and the ecosystem services sustaining them. The role of IUCN in this project is to influence the local, regional and international policy arenas through an extensive communication and capacity building programme developed together with ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability). The first training for local authorities will take place in November this year in Barcelona, Spain.


IUCN has led the production of a series of Fact sheets on the URBES project. Click on the links below to read more.

> Fact sheet #1 - The URBES Project
> Fact sheet #2 - Biodiversity and ecosystem services: the foundation for human health and well-being
> Fact sheet #3 - Valuing ecosystem services in urban areas
> More on the URBES project
> URBES project website
urban river and recreation

Join the IUCN Urban Biodiversity Forum!

Today, IUCN launches an online platform to stimulate exchange on nature-based solutions for urban challenges in Europe: the IUCN Urban Biodiversity Forum.


Nature can offer powerful solutions for improving the quality of life of urban citizens. Protecting and restoring nature in and around cities, can help secure resources for the future and turn our current economic challenges into opportunities to achieve sustainable growth. How can we better capture these natural solutions then sharing and learning from existing success stories that place biodiversity at the heart of our urban environment?

> Read more
> Link to the Forum
Urban Biodiversity Forum

Resilient Cities 2013: the values of green spaces for cities

The ICLEI Resilient Cities Conference is an event held annually in Bonn which connects local government leaders and climate adaptation experts from all over the world to discuss adaptation challenges in urban environments. The event serves as a forum for innovative ideas and strategies for resilient urban planning and knowledge sharing. The 2013 edition of Resilient Cities took place from 31 May to 2 June and showcased progress on strengthening urban resilience in key areas: ecosystem-based adaptation, social aspects of adaptation, and resilient design and technology.

> Read more

BLOG: Green architecture for more biodiversity-friendly cities

“Urban dwellers have become increasingly disconnected from nature, so that nowadays many of us no longer understand the connection of a healthy ecosystem and healthy cities”. Kaveh Samiei, an architect and landscape designer at the University of Semnan (Iran), highlights the need for stronger connections between nature and urban architecture in his post on the blog The Nature of Cities.


Urban habitats and species are sometimes considered to be less important than their rural counterparts. Yet cities host a surprisingly rich and diverse natural environment...

> Read more
Green building, Brussels

European Commission launches strategy on green infrastructure

The European Commission has adopted a new strategy for encouraging the use of green infrastructure, and for ensuring that the enhancement of natural processes becomes a systematic part of spatial planning. Green infrastructure uses nature to provide ecological, economic and social benefits. Instead of building flood protection infrastructure, for example, a green infrastructure solution would be to allow a natural wetland to absorb the excess water from heavy rain.


“The new strategy underlines how valuable nature is for people, both in urban and rural areas. It shows a strong commitment by the EU to conserve and restore the natural functions of ecosystems, which will have a positive impact on species diversity, while making economic sense” said Chantal van Ham, IUCN European Programme Officer.

> Read more
Geneva, park.

Bristol wins European Green Capital Award 2015

Bristol has been crowned European Green Capital 2015, as announced at the Award Ceremony hosted by the current European Green Capital, Nantes, on 14 June 2013.


For Bristol, it is third time lucky as the British green city has entered the European Green Capital award for the third time this year. It is a testament to the city and its citizens that their years of hard work have finally paid off resulting in the achievement of this prestigious European recognition. The European Green Capital Award is organized by the European Commission. 

> Read more
European Green Capital

Mayotte: yet to be recognized exceptional biodiversity

The French overseas department of Mayotte is located in the biogeographical area of the Comoros Archipelago, at the heart of the Mozambique Channel and close to Madagascar. Mayotte hosts a variety of land and marine tropical ecosystems which are of major ecological value, despite significant landscape changes due to the exploitation of first sugar cane and later rice. 


For its limited territory, Mayotte’s natural landscape hosts a vast array of rare biodiversity. Landscapes range from tropical forests located on summits and ridges, wetlands amid alluvial plains, bays covered in mangroves, coasts outlined by coral reefs and surrounded by marine flora. Mayotte, a volcanic island more than 8 million years old, shares its flora with Madagascar and, at a regional level, it is considered as 1 of the 34 world’s biodiversity hotspots.

> Country Focus Mayotte
> Country Focus Poland
Manta ray, Mayotte

Climate negotiations: an ambitious result needed in Warsaw

Logo Only a few hours before US President Barack Obama addressed the world with his Climate Action Plan, a debate on the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in November took place at the European Parliament. A distinguished group of...
> Read more


The results of CITES CoP16 and the European Parliament’s views

Logo The 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora was held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 3-14 March 2013...
> Read more


IUCN highlights islands’ challenges at the European Parliament

Participants at the meeting on islands's challenges at the European Parliament Speaking at an event in the European Parliament, both IUCN and the Global Island Partnership have highlighted the key sustainable development challenges faced by Europe’s overseas entities as well the potential of islands across the globe to help achieve both EU and international environmental targets.
> Read more


New practical tool to evaluate Marine Protected Areas management in the Mediterranean

IUCN-WWF cover MPA guide publication To reinforce the effectiveness of Mediterranean marine protected areas and to achieve a more unified approach, the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation and WWF-Italy have worked in close collaboration with MPA managers to create an inclusive yet synthetic tool to assess MPA management.
> Read more


New strategy to fight sea invaders in the Mediterranean

Publication's cover As alien species from the Red Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and beyond find new habitats in the Mediterranean, the new guide by the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation provides the clues to the most dangerous invasive marine fauna and flora.
> Read more


What species are most threatened in Italy?

Crocus etruscus, Near Threatened The Italian Committee of IUCN has released a new assessment of Italy’s animal and plant species. On International Biodiversity Day, 22 May, the Committee has organized an event to launch the results of the two national Red List produced: Italian Red List of Terrestrial vertebrates (including sharks, rays and marine mammals) and Italian Red List of Plants.
> Read more


Nature at risk in the EU: National analysis of the European Red List

Fact Sheet on Malta's biodiversity Which EU Member State hosts the highest proportion of species threatened at the European level? This series of Fact Sheets by IUCN presents the proportion of species which are threatened at the European level in each of the 27 Member States.
> Read more


Congratulations! Winners of Powered by Nature award announced

Powered by nature award IUCN Commission on Education and Communication and Alcoa Foundation announced the winners of the Powered by Nature award. Communications students across Europe were invited to submit ideas to co-create a social media campaign to shape the future of energy.
> Read more


Iconic Mount Etna gains World Heritage status

Mount Etna One of the world’s most active volcanoes, Italy’s Mount Etna has been named a World Heritage Site at the World Heritage Committee meeting currently taking place in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, following IUCN’s recommendation.
> Read more
> Tajikistan gets its first natural World Heritage Site


France and IUCN intensify their efforts to protect global biodiversity

Delphine Batho, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Victorin Lurel, Minister of Overseas France, Pascal Canfin, Deputy Minister for Development and Anne Paugam, CEO of the French Development Agency sign a new agreement with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), represented by its Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre. IUCN signed a new partnership agreement with France, which aims to support the Union's global biodiversity conservation work, focusing on sub-Saharan Africa, oceans and global governance of natural resources.
> Read more


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IUCN (The International Union for Conservation of Nature) © 2013

IUCN helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. IUCN’s work focuses on valuing and conserving nature, ensuring effective and equitable governance of its use, and deploying nature-based solutions to global challenges in climate, food and development. IUCN’s European region covers the European continent, North and Central Asia, and includes the European Union overseas entities. Representing one third of the global membership, this is IUCN’s largest programmatic region.

Photo credits: Luc Bas; Urban river and recreation, Dagmar Haase; Urban Biodiversity Forum, IUCN; Logo, Resilient Cities 2013; Green building Brussels, chantal van Ham/IUCN; Geneva, park, Chantal van Ham/IUCN; European Green Capital, European Commission; Manta ray, Mayotte, Isirus; UNFCCC COP19 logo; CITES COP16 logo; Participants at the meeting on islands's challenges at the European Parliament, Paolo Mattana; IUCN-WWF cover MPA guide publication; Publication's cover, IUCN-Med; Crocus etruscus, Near Threatened, Peruzzi; Fact Sheet on Malta's biodiversity, IUCN; Powered by Nature Award; Mount Etna, IUCN Bastian Bertzky; Delphine Batho, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Victorin Lurel, Minister of Overseas France, Pascal Canfin, Deputy Minister for Development and Anne Paugam, CEO of the French Development Agency sign a new agreement with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), represented by its Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN.