ESMERALDA meets key stakeholders from EU member states in Riga

The first ESMERALDA Stakeholder Workshop took place from 13 to 16 October 2015 in Riga, Latvia, as the first of a series of events planned to enhance the project collaboration with stakeholders. The event brought together project partners and stakeholders to discuss the state and gaps of ecosystem service mapping and assessment activities in their countries, and the ways ESMERALDA outputs can feed into their work to achieve Action 5 of the EU Biodiversity Strategy.

View from Riga, Latvia where the workshop tool place. Credit: I. Kuzmova

The event, organised by the ESMERALDA partners Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and the Baltic Environmental Forum (BEF), was attended by over 70 participants - policy and decision makers, as well as other professionals working in the field of ecosystem services, from across EU member states.

Group photo, more that 70 participants from across EU Member states. Credit: I. Kuzmova

ESMERALDA aims at supporting national stakeholders in order to fulfil their tasks within the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2020. Target 2 Action 5 of the strategy asks all EU member states to map and assess ecosystems and the services they provide within their national territories. ESMERALDA further aims to develop a flexible methodology for mapping of ecosystems and ecosystem services to provide building blocks for pan-European, regional and local assessments as contributions to the EU Biodiversity Strategy.

ESMERALDA will provide:

  • a set of practical policy recommendations, among others based on thematic case studies carried out in the project;

  • a set of recommendations for the future development and implementation of related policies;

  • practical guidance, data and tools for using biodiversity and ecosystem-related data in other policies.

Stakeholder engagement is therefore key for ESMERALDA in order to identify needs within the individual member states and to provide the right support and coordination for related activities, to fulfil requirements of policy making and to integrate them into the project research.

Top: Project coordinator B. Burkhard passes the ESMERALDA Workshop symbol 'the ESMERALDA Bottle' to the local organizers; Left: Participants at the meeting; Right: Joachim Maes presenting during the workshop. Credit: I. Kuzmova

Presentations form the meeting: 

General overview of ESMERALDA activities_B.Burkhard

Welcome words by the host Baltic Environmental Forum Latvia_K.Veidemane

Stakeholder network and mapping and assessment activities _L.Kopperoinen

Update biodiversity strategy and MAES_J.Maes

Final discussion on recommendations for how to get forward_B.Burkhard