Within the framework of Interreg Europe PROGRESS project 2nd Interregional Thematic Seminar took place

On October 27th 2020 the Interreg Europe project PROGRESS gathered researchers, associations and policy-making stakeholders to discuss the integration of environmental challenges into policy action.

At first Owen Douglas (Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly, Ireland) clearly stated the need of information for policy makers, especially during these strange times where research and social voices should be heard before any decisions are made.

The delivery and maintenance of ecosystem goods and services are crucial for our wellbeing. However, we take this for granted and rarely consider this when the policy decision is made. This artificial dichotomy between territory and society is in fact an interdependence that should be promoted. Therefore, decision makers should be aware of the environmental needs to make wiser decisions and avoid natural habitat loss. With this final aim in mind, participants of the seminar presented and discussed different Good Practices related to the horizontal integration of the ecosystem concerns into the sectoral policies and plans at regional level focusing on the forestry sector. Practices had been previously selected in each partner region during the local meetings with experts and stakeholders. Some of them also attended the online meeting to provide a deeper insight and solve interesting questions.

Among them was the Citizen Council for Sustainability – an efficient consultative body which is useful both as a network of stakeholders and as a working group. As explained by Marta Cuixart (Barcelona City Council, Spain), the success of such council is based on “realistic objectives to tackle the crisis instead of hiding and embracing the diversity”. The good practice of the Latvian region was presented by the leading researcher Zane Libiete (Latvian State Forest Research Institute “Silava”, Latvia), introducing the listeners to the current research – the impact of forestry on forest and related ecosystem services. The approach of the assessment and developed methodology for mapping of forest ecosystem services allows assessing the impact of forestry on the quality of forest and related ecosystem services and helps to carry out sustainable forestry planning.

Among other many interesting practices discussed: the rules for the definition and indicators for the characterization of the Agricultural Areas (Rural World Foundation, Spain) in order to promote agricultural ecosystems services; the interesting Catalonian Forestry Laboratory, which also translates rough information into useful guidelines; Danut Chira introduced the conservative management of habitats performed by the Environmental Protection Agency of Gorj (Romania); the exemplary communication campaign performed by the Dublin Mountains Makeover that was explained by Hannah Hamilton (Coillte, Ireland); and the two innovation technologies managed by the Mecsek Forestry Co. Ltd. and clarified by Balázs

Borkovits (Hungary) – Restoring Ecological Diversity of Forests with Airborne Imaging Technologies and Protecting of the English oak in the cross-border area.

How to select the best among these great Good Practices? Keep updated about the selection in website of the project: interregeurope.eu/progress

More information about project: buni.rtu.lv/interreg-eu-progress