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Home Biodiversity European Learning Network on Functional AgroBiodiversity

European Learning Network on Functional AgroBiodiversity

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AgroBiodiversityThe first conference ‘Towards a European Learning Network on Functional Agrobiodiversity’, held in The Hague, the Netherlands on 23 and 24 June 2008, resulted in the decision to establish a European Learning Network on Functional AgroBiodiversity (ELN-FAB). ECNC in cooperation with DIVERSITAS agroBIODIVERSITY International Project Office (AB-IPO) took up the coordination of this network, and the Netherlands Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment provided funding. The first phase of the project started in January 2009 and will run until the end of 2009. Further support and financial participation is being sought in order to expand the Network in the longer term.

By 2030 the use of agrobiodiversity to enhance ecosystem services in a way that promotes sustainable agricultural production and contributes to sustainable rural development (triple P) is fully integrated into European agricultural policies and practices.

The European Learning Network on Functional Agrobiodiversity is founded to exchange knowledge and practical experience across country and language borders, between farmers and policy makers, scientists, businesses and NGOs, to enable fast and effective implementation of best practices. This will help to optimize agrobiodiversity benefits, promote sustainable agriculture and will encourage widespread uptake of biodiversity concepts, thereby also enhancing non-agronomic ecosystem services.

The specific objectives of the project are to:
  • stimulate dialogue, influence policy making and support implementation of best practices;
  • generate and exchange knowledge on best and worst practices as well as on mechanisms and practices underlying functional agrobiodiversity;
  • undertake outreach activities;
  • provide advice to farmers, policy makers and scientists and other stakeholders.
Benefits for Stakeholders
The European Learning Network started in the 27 member countries of the EU and was extended beyond the scope of the EU27 with Switzerland and Norway.

The primary stakeholders in the ELN-FAB are those organizations and people in the geographical scope that represent:
  • the land managers (e.g. farmers, landscape and nature managers);
  • the research community dealing with functional agrobiodiversity;
  • the policymakers at all levels from local to international.
The benefits for the respective stakeholder groups include, among others:
  • improved capacity and skills for land managers to integrate functional agrobiodiversity into their management practices through e.g. easily accessible information on best practices, opportunities for dialogue with colleagues elsewhere in Europe, digested research results as basis for adaptive management;
  • collaboration and knowledge exchange among researchers and between researchers and other stakeholders contributes to improved scientific understanding of the contribution of FAB to ecosystem services;
  • enhanced possibilities for researchers to consult colleagues in their research field as well as land managers and policymakers to be in dialogue with;
  • enhanced access to a growing number of field sites that can be used by researchers as living laboratories for the research on FAB;
  • greater impact on agricultural policies at national and European levels because of the large pool of evidence, practice and multipliers that jointly promote the integration of FAB in agricultural policies (notably, the opportunity to influence the CAP reform in 2013);
  • greater opportunity for decision makers in agriculture to access knowledge and advice with regard to their policy field.
Implementation structure
ECNC hosts the Secretariat of the European Learning Network. ECNC and AB-IPO are partners within this project and complement each other to ensure successful realisation of the project.

The implementation structure of ELN-FAB is provided below.

The Steering Group of the project consists of European scientists and policy makers representing the following organisations:  
Mr Gert Eshuis - Netherlands Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (VROM)
Ms Szilvia Bősze - European Commission, DG Environment
Ms Tania Runge - COPA COGECA
Dr Felix Wäckers - University of Lancaster, UK
Dr Stefan Schröder - Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food, Germany
Ms Eike Lepmets - Ministry of Agriculture, Estonia
Mr Mark Thomasin-Foster – President of European Landowners’ Organization (ELO)
Dr Oscar Alomar - Institute of Agro-Food Research and Technology (IRTA), Spain
Dr Xavier Le Roux - Foundation for Research on Biodiversity (FRB), France  
  • Setting up the steering group of the network which consists of European scientists and policy makers;
  • Developing multi-annual work plan;
  • Preparing project communication materials: logo and brochure;
  • Contacting stakeholder groups on European and national levels and other possible intermediaries who could actively participate in the project;
  • Exploring cooperation with relevant networks and companies;
  • Developing and maintaining the register of agrobiodiversity projects throughout Europe;
  • Developing the official website of the project;
  • Organizing the 2nd ELN-FAB European Seminar which will be held on 24-25 September 2009 and will be hosted by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) in Frick, Switzerland;
  • Elaborating ELN-FAB communication plan;
  • Organizing steering group meetings;
  • Preparing information leaflet;
  • Doing various fundraising activities for the next phase 2010-2011.
Plans on the longer term
The secretariat has a proposal for the next phase 2010-2011 which covers the phase of broadening and intensifying the activities of the Network.
Among the planned activities are:
  • Ensuring efficient management and coordination of the project;
  • Further development of the organizational model;
  • Further development of the ELN-FAB website and the database of agrobiodiversity projects;
  • Developing and coordinating communication and outreach activities;
  • Organizing awareness raising workshops about FAB throughout Europe to form working partnerships;
  • Preparing a handbook about how best to integrate FAB into management practices;
  • Ensuring long term funding for the network;
  • Broadening the geographical scope of the project in order to develop a Pan-European network;
  • Organizing yearly ELN-FAB European seminars;
  • Support to steering group meetings.  

Source: http://www.eln-fab.eu/index.php?do=page&lang=en&id=22



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