ESMERALDA Final Project Conference: A success story of science supporting policy

ESMERALDA gathered scientists, practitioners and policy-makers for its final project Conference, to demonstrate key scientific results and practical resources designed to assist and guide EU Member States in Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES) in their respective local, national and pan-national contexts. The three-day Conference took place from 11 to 13 June 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.

The event focused on how the ESMERALDA flexible mapping and assessment methodology supports decision makers from policy, business and society to integrate ecosystem services in their day-to-day work. About 100 delegates from 27 EU Member states, 6 other European countries, EU outermost regions, and various European Commission's bodies and institutions attended the event.

The first day of the Conference was dedicated to meeting members of the EU MAES working group and discussing various tools, their interoperability and integration of results on similar platforms. Within the Fun Fair on tools and methods to map and assess ecosystems and their services, participants had the chance to click through the MAES Explorer - an online platform assisting non-scientific users of ESMERALDA's methodology in choosing the right approach and execution in their specific context.

On day two of the project meeting, the Director-General of DG Environment and Deputy Director-General of DG Research & Innovation highlighted how the ESMERALDA outcomes are supporting the implementation of various EU policies. Other EC members and stakeholders explained the integration of the concept of ecosystem services in EU member states.  

On day three, ESMERALDA showcased its flexible methodology and highlighted results and conclusions across the project's case studies. The project presented its open access book "Mapping Ecosystem Services" and its Special Issue, publicly accessible in the open access journal One Ecosystem, where interested parties can acquaint themselves with a variety of results and methods.

The Conference ended with a joint discussion with the whole team on next steps towards sustaining the ESMERALDA network, as well as making best use of the project’s valuable findings. 

All presentations from the final project Conference can be found on the website's media center.