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Governance and Ecosystems Management for the CONservation of BIOdiversity

Final Report Summary - GEM-CON-BIO (Governance and Ecosystems Management for the CONservation of BIOdiversity)

The GEM-CON-BIO project aimed to explore the interactions between different methods for the management, ownership and use of natural resources currently employed in Europe and globally to identify which processes and institutions can best contribute to the conservation of biodiversity. The project developed recommendation and model approaches for sustainable land use.

GEM-CON-BIO investigated types and modes of governance that are related to biodiversity conservation and sustainable development, identified critical characteristics and threshold factors that exist in the environment of an ecosystem management authority (environmental, social and economic factors), as well as who controls them, and conducted research on a range of thematic and case studies on biodiversity governance. Lessons were drawn from community and private sector experiences, from region-specific practices and conditions and from efforts to link ecosystems in order to achieve a broad management and governance level (regional, national and global). Co-management approaches, currently flourishing all over the world, were also an important focus of discussion.

The main results of the project were:

a) An analytical framework that for the study of governance and biodiversity conservation. The GEM-CON-BIO framework is scale-free, i.e. works for all institutional scales and explores links between institutional processes at different scales. Each cycle starts by assessing the initial capacity (ecological capacity including drivers and threat, socio-economic capacity, governance capacity, regulatory capacity, and general social capacity). Based on this general capacity, an assessment is made of how management objectives are determined, whether an integrated perspective (e.g. the ecosystem approach) is employed, and whether efforts to monitor are taken (which is necessary for an adaptive management).

b) Reports on 29 case studies conducted based on this framework. In order to achieve its objective, GEM-CON-BIO researchers analysed 29 case studies at different spatial levels and time frames. The case studies analysed in GEM-CON-BIO are distinguished in three groups:
- in EU and US at ecosystem/local level;
- in other non-western countries adopting a slightly different analytical framework; and
- in those focusing the analysis on one or more specific uses of natural resources and biodiversity at international/European level.

c) A governance matrix linking governance structures and ecosystem management practices, and a set of corresponding policy guidelines on how governance could be improved. The results achieved show that the GEM-CON-BIO analytical framework is a useful research tool to synthesise and compare outcomes from case studies in order to draw conclusions on the most important factors of governance impacting on biodiversity conservation.

GEM-CON-BIO formulated its results into a set of policy guidelines. The guidelines provide explanatory and supporting material in accessible form to highlight relevance of guidelines at different levels of government and in a variety of biodiversity contexts. All the public reports and case studies have been made available for download from the GEM-CON-BIO website (please see online) to anyone interested.