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21-23 MARCH 2017

Final OpenNESS Annual Meeting in Smolenice, Slovakia

OpenNESS project team takes stock of progress

OpenNESS is now a third of the way through its planned duration of four and a half years and we are making good progress. This was the main conclusion reached at a two-day meeting of the Project Steering Committee, partly combined with the project’s International Advisory Board and the Project Science Review Group. The meeting was hosted by OpenNESS partner Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung GMBH – UFZ at beautiful Machern Castle, near Leipzig, Germany, on 10 and 11 July, and was attended by some 15 participants.

All work packages reported good progress and an increasing number of results coming out of the work so far. These include a range of synthesis papers on key topics connected to operationalizing ecosystem services and natural capital, draft scenarios on drivers of change, a systematic review of non-monetary valuation methods, case study implementation, stakeholder events, communication, and so forth. During the meeting a number of future activities were planned, including a policy day at the European Commission, joint work package meetings for strengthened integration, the annual meeting in spring 2015, and possible policy briefs.

The International Advisory Board and the Project Science Review Group joined the meeting for the first time since the project started. These bodies include key experts and stakeholders who oversee progress, quality and connections with other projects (such as twin project OPERAs) and initiatives. A full ‘strategy day’ with these bodies was devoted to discussing more in-depth matters regarding the content of the project. This provided the opportunity to discuss how the project contributes to a green economy, how we can ensure policy impact, the way in which OpenNESS acknowledges that valuation of ecosystem services is much more than just monetary valuation, including abiotic components in the definition of natural capital, and strengthening the support of the case studies.

OpenNESS is working very closely with the related research project OPERAs on developing a common platform that will bring together all the knowledge, tools and services from both projects in support of parties that want to turn ecosystem services and natural capital into action. The meeting agreed that the platform will be called OPPLA. OPPLA will be further developed and branded in the coming year.

Photo: Castle Machern, © Ben Delbaere