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Supporting the development of a coherent and resilient Trans-European Nature Network

The EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 addresses the on-going biodiversity decline through an EU Nature Protection and Restoration Plan across land and sea, including through the deployment of a truly coherent TEN-N increasing and interconnecting the current network of protected areas. The strategy includes key commitments for 2030 for legally protecting a minimum of 30% of the EU’s land area and 30% of the EU’s sea area and strictly protecting one third of the EU’s protected areas, including all remaining EU primary and old-growth forests. Additionally, setting up and integrating ecological corridors will be important to prevent genetic isolation, allowing for species migration and dispersal, and for maintaining and enhancing healthy ecosystems. This is particularly relevant for increasing resilience of the network with respect to climate change[[Climate change impacts on ecosystems are now evident across all ecosystems, for example, where climate change is increasing the risk of forest fires and other ecosystem degradation. Furthermore, climate change is projected to drive species to higher latitudes. A more coherent network of nature is one of the solutions to mitigate impacts of and adapt to climate change and allow species to migrate.]].

The successful proposal should set up a strategic plan to support national authorities in identifying and selecting the relevant priority areas for EU land protection and the set-up of ecological corridors. It should be built on the existing EU network of protected areas and based on the EU Guidance to Member States[[This Guidance is currently under discussion in the frame of the EU Nature Directives Expert Group (NADEG) and should be finalized by the end of 2021 at the latest.]], referred in the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030.

The successful proposal should consider various climate change scenarios, propose solutions for strengthening ecological connectivity under these different scenarios, through additional protected areas and ecological corridors. In this context, it should also consider the role of Green Urban Spaces and intensively managed ecosystems.

It should promote, support and demonstrate innovative and replicable financing solutions in GI and NBS and innovative cooperation and participatory approaches across borders among Member States on different levels involving a wide range of stakeholders across sectors.

The successful proposal should set out a clear plan to collaborate with national authorities and stakeholders, relevant projects under this call the EU Biodiversity Partnership, the Science Service under HORIZON-CL6-2021-BIODIV-01-19: ‘A mechanism for science to inform implementation, monitoring, review and ratcheting up the new EU biodiversity strategy’ as well with the EU Natura 2000 Biogeographical Process[[The Biogeographical Process is guided and monitored by the Expert Group on Natura 2000 Management, and Steering Committees composed of representatives of the Member States, the European Commission, the European Environment Agency, the European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity, the European Habitats Forum and the Natura 2000 Users Forum.]] which will be the main forum for discussion of the targets between the Commission, Member States and stakeholders. To this end, proposals should include dedicated tasks and dedicate appropriate resources for coordination measures, and, where possible, foresee joint activities and joint deliverables. The successful proposals should provide knowledge to Convention on Biological Diversity (e.g. SBSTTA/SBI) and to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services processes where relevant. Projects should ensure that all evidence, data and information will be accessible through the EC Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity.

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement. Where relevant, creating links to and using the information and data of the European Earth observation programme Copernicus, the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) is expected.