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New brief on integrating nature-based solutions in urban planning published

The proportion of the world’s population living in cities continues to grow. We can expect extreme weather events to occur at a greater frequency as climate change continues. Greater use of natural elements in urban planning can help us meet these challenges, while providing multiple benefits that traditional engineering cannot. In OpenNESS, nature-based solutions are used as an overarching term for applications based on ecosystem services, natural capital and ‘lessons from nature’. This brief explains how to integrate nature-based solutions in urban planning using examples from urban cases around Europe. Read more »

Image: Green atrium in Trnava, Slovakia.

Ecosystem services for nature, people and prosperity

The concept of ecosystem services is becoming more mainstream among policy, business and practice. There is a wide range of research going on around the globe. The key challenge is to turn this knowledge into practice. This was the clear message from the well-attended and perfectly organized 8th global Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP) conference in South-Africa last week. OpenNESS provided great input into the conference, with its many examples of how ecosystem services and natural capital are operationalized at local and regional levels. Read more »

Photo: © Ben Delbaere

How small businesses operationalise ecosystem services

‘SMEs are the most important source for innovation’, said Kurt VandenBerghe, Director at the European Commission Directorate General for Research and Innovation when speaking at the OpenNESS SME event about investing in nature-based solutions. His keynote speech described in an excellent way the challenges posed by EU research funding and how small businesses play an essential role in shaping research of the future. Ecosystem services and natural capital are key elements that can drive such innovation and the event on 28 October in Brussels was set to demonstrate this point. Read more »

Photo: Kurt VandenBerghe states that "OpenNESS does exactly what the Horizon 2020 funding programme aims to achieve: research in action!"

Putting nature into business, bank and government equations

The Future Earth blog, a major online platform for innovative new ideas and essential reading for everyone engaged in global sustainability, published the OpenNESS blog "Putting nature into business, bank and government equations". The blog is written by Ben Delbaere (ECNC) and explains the operationalisation of ecosystem services and natural capital, using our Oslo case study to visualize the subject. Read the full blog »

Photo: People living in Oslo typically have only 300 metres between their front door and a green space, © Tore Bustad via Flickr

Business and research share the stage

OpenNESS was highlighted as a platform to integrate business and research on ecosystem services and natural capital at the Cairngorms Research Event 21-22 October 2015. Andy Wellsfrom Crown Estate, shared the stage with researchers Jan Dick (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology) and Beth Wells (Moredun Research Institute). The whirl wind presentation of just 15 minutes highlighted the importance of integrating business and research to investigate the operationalisation of ecosystem services and natural capital in real-world situations. Read more »

Photo: Jan Dick presenting the collaboration between the OpenNESS and Aquavalens projects, © Jonathan Carruthers-Jones

Putting the pieces of the OpenNESS puzzle together

The final OpenNESS cross work package workshop took place on 5 to 9 October 2015 in the beautiful former-Franciscan monastery of La Foresta, near Leuven, in Belgium. The workshop focused on ways to integrate the OpenNESS results across different work packages, and made a first move towards the development of an overall synthesis. In addition, there was plenty of space for specific topic sessions, providing participants with many opportunities to work in small groups on insights and common products. Read more »

Photo: Ecosystem service: natural drinking water, © Nicole De Groof

Register now for the OpenNESS SME Event

On Wednesday 28 October, OpenNESS will bring together corporates, SMEs and researchers from around Europe in an event about businesses operationalising ecosystem services and natural capital. The SME event is set up to share recent advances and to discuss future opportunities and needs for research and innovation in the EU, related to new business opportunities and models that take account of, value and/or sustain ecosystem services and natural capital. The event is free to attend and registration is now open. For more information and to register, please visit the event's webpage. Read more »

Obtaining local stakeholders’ knowledge of ecosystem services in Warwickshire

On 3 and 4 August, OpenNESS case study 11 – Biodiversity Offsetting in Warwickshire – ran two successful participatory GIS workshops, one with farmers and one with regional planners. The workshops were organized to help the Warwickshire case study team learn from local stakeholder knowledge of ecosystem services supply and demand within the Warwickshire case study area. Read more »

Photo: Local stakeholders discussing where to map ecosystem services within Warwickshire, Coventry and Sollihull

Nature-based solutions, circular economy and smart cities: how OpenNESS supports their ultimate aims

It's the first day of July and summer really set in. Time to give you something to reflect on during those long and sultry holidays. OpenNESS coordinator Eeva Furman (SYKE, Finland) wrote a summer blog about the emerging ideas of nature-based solutions, circular economy and smart cities. The three ideas stem from and make use of the concepts of ecosystem services and natural capital, which reflect the elements and processes necessary for human well-being. For these ideas to promote their ultimate aims, three operational actions are needed: measurement, evaluation, and demonstration. Read more »

Writing effective policy briefs

Project-specific policy briefs are useful. However, clustered policy briefs that bring together results and evidence from various projects around a policy question may be much more effective. This was the basis for BiodivERsA to organize a workshop in support of knowledge brokerage. The 60-odd participants joining at the Belgian Federal Public Planning Service Science Policy (Belspo) in Brussels witnessed a very intensive day and the difficulties involved in producing a policy-relevant, clear, concise and science-based policy brief. Read more »

Photo: Discussing hot policy topics and co-building of policy relevant questions, © BiodivERsA