“Our best achievement will be a qualitative change in environmental policies”. With this words, Besnik Mehmeti of ANCI Toscana, coordinator of the project, clearly set up the real objective of the project during the Kick of Meeting hold in Florence last October 2019.

Ecosystem services are the benefits humankind obtains from the workings of the natural world and constitute the natural base for economic prosperity and quality of life. However, sustaining production levels without caring to natural processes is increasingly difficult and costly, contributing to ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss. Failure of ecosystem services will mean, at the least, increasing dependence on imported goods and higher risk from diseases and natural catastrophes. There is thus an urgent need to improve the relevant regional policies and to provide multi-stakeholder solutions for protection and sustainable use of the natural capital. Through this project, partners’ regions have agreed to address this major challenge and respond adequately.

Partners assure the involvement of policy makers and other relevant stakeholders to stimulate a multidimensional and dynamic exchange of experiences, in order to learn on how to improve their regional policies in biodiversity and ecosystem services. By contributing to and benefiting from a process of cross-fertilization and dialogue between regional level networks and stakeholders, partners will benchmark their own experiences against those of their peers and learn about what works and what doesn't in different contexts. Learning will inform policy and practice in the involved regions enabling common ownership of the good practices to be adopted.

Last December 2019 in a conference on the subject hold in Barcelona, Joan Pino, director of CREAF, accredited with the Severo Ochoa center of excellence, said: “Now that we are developing the tools for mapping this ecosystem services, it’s time to help policy-makers to use them efficiently”.

All consortium members; National Association of Italian Municipalities Tuscany (IT), Riga Technical University (LV), Eastern & Midland Regional Assembly (IE), Tolna County Development Agency (HU), CREAF (ES) and University of Craiova (RO), build this interregional cooperation around two main phases. During the 3 years long of the 1st phase, action plans for each policy instrument tackled will be design based on the identification, analysis and exchange of Good Practices around the following issues:
- Measuring the costs and benefits of ecosystem services derived from land use.
- Supporting the horizontal integration of the ecosystem concerns into the sectorial policies and plans.
- Exploring innovative financial and marketing mechanisms for payment for ecosystem services.
- Landscape governance for economic and environmental sustainability.
The 1 year long 2nd phase is dedicated to monitor the implementation of the action plans previously developed.

The first round of good practices selection on measuring ecosystem services will take place in Barcelona next March 2020… are you going to miss it?