Spotlight on:

FACCE-JPI/ BiodivERsA joint workshop on agriculture and food security - biodiversity and ecosystem services

   

Preparing a joint vision and collaborative activities

The Joint Programming Initiative FACCE-JPI (on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change) and ERA-NET COFUND BiodivERsA (on biodiversity and ecosystem services across European countries and territories) organised a joint workshop in Brussels on 25-26 April 2018. The objective of the workshop was to develop a joint vision of possible collaboration between FACCE-JPI and BiodivERsA with expected added value, and a concrete plan with modalities for joint activities.

Biodiversity, agriculture and climate change are intimately connected, but both in research and policy these themes are largely being dealt with separately. Solutions in one area are often incompatible with solutions in the other areas. Meeting the climate goal of 2 degrees will require an energy transition that is likely to include - at least for a while - increased use of biofuels which may affect sustainable agriculture options, while soils should be managed as carbon sinks. The mid-term review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy observes a continuing decline in the status of species and habitats associated with agriculture in the EU: the CAP so far did not help to restore biodiversity, in many places the opposite happened. It is often insufficiently recognized that agricultural practices not only affect biodiversity, but, more importantly, agriculture and food security depend on crucial ecosystem services and functions, such as the availability and quality of arable land, soil and water, pollination and many others. Climate change impacts affect these services and functions.

Meeting biodiversity, agricultural and climate change goals together requires not only a fundamental transition in the way we use energy, but also in the way we manage our lands. Research can provide new insights of how this can be done and by whom, where synergies can be found, how trade-offs can be avoided. Two transnational research funding initiatives, FACCE-JPI (on Food, Agriculture and Climate Change) and BiodivERsA are now joining forces to address the enormous challenges that policy makers and practitioners face. Already in 2013 a research call started to explore common challenges - the results will shortly become available. A workshop was organised on 25 and 26 April 2018 in Brussels to explore the options for collaboration. Next to representatives of the two initiatives, a number of policy makers, experts and stakeholders shared their views on priority knowledge gaps. A broad menu of potential focal research themes and collaboration instruments was developed, varying from short-term opportunities to a broader and more sustained partnership. The short-term options include the participation of one initiative in the already ongoing and planned research activities of the other, such as an expected ERA-NET Cofund on Biodiversity and Climate Change (BiodivERsA), a proposed European Joint Programming initiative (EJP) on Soils and an ERA-NET on Food Systems and Climate Change (FACCE-JPI). The long-term options include, inter alia, the development of a new research call on sustainable agro-ecology management practices, and the development of a knowledge hub aiming at a sustained network of experts providing guidance for policy and practice, from the farm level to the food system as a whole. The members of the Governing Boards of the two initiatives will decide on the way forward in the coming months. Whatever they decide, their collaboration would help further the urgent transition to a nature-friendly, climate-resilient and flourishing European agricultural sector.

For more information, please contact Rob Swart of the FACCE-JPI Secretariat: Rob.Swart@wur.nl

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