Periodic Reporting for period 3 - AQUACROSS (Knowledge, Assessment, and Management for AQUAtic Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services aCROSS EU policies (AQUACROSS))
Reporting period: 2017-12-01 to 2018-11-30
In an effort to halt biodiversity loss across freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems, the project AQUACROSS had the following four goals:
1. To support the implementation of the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy and thereby improve functioning of aquatic ecosystems as a whole;
2. To explore, advance and support the implementation of the ecosystem based-management concept, which is understood as management or policy options intended to restore, enhance and/or protect the ability of an ecosystem to remain in good health;
3. To specifically identify and test management and business models and tools to identify the benefits of aquatic ecosystems for stakeholders, businesses, and policy-makers; and,
4. To mobilise policymakers, businesses, and societal actors at global, EU, Member State, and case-study levels.
A further key achievement of the project has been the implementation of the AQUACROSS Assessment Framework in eight case studies. This provides eight real-world examples of applying ecosystem-based management in Europe’s inland, transitional, and marine waters to protect local biodiversity from a diverse range of threats.
All this material is publicly available in the project website (https://www.aquacross.eu/results) and the zenodo public repository (www.zenodo.org).
To increase the impact of project results, the AQUACROSS Cookbook consists of 38 interlinked and dynamic short thematic briefs covering all aspects of the project and targeting our lessons learned and conclusions to different audiences. The results of the project have been presented and discussed in different fora. Firstly at the project final conference to an EU policy level audience (Brussels, October 2018), secondly at different side events of the 2018 UN Biodiversity Conference to an international policy/practitioners audience (Egypt, November 2018), and thirdly at the Ecosystem Services Partnership Europe Regional Conference to the ecosystem services research for policy community (San Sebastian, Spain, October 2018). Finally, results have been shared with local stakeholders through dedicated dissemination activities in each of the AQUACROSS case studies.
A special journal issue and a book on Ecosystem Based Management, edited by AQUACROSS researchers are under preparation. At the local case study level, collaboration is continuing with local policy-makers to ensure that the results of the AQUACROSS project are exploited and make a long-term local impact.
The project’s integrative research approach goes beyond current science by looking into how existing national and local policies, management measures and financing instruments help or hinder aquatic biodiversity conservation. The project documents how policy actions, from international to local scale, affect aquatic biodiversity. AQUACROSS results, methods and tools offer practical guidance on how to apply interdisciplinary ecosystem-based management science to protect biodiversity and optimise policies at the European and local levels.
AQUACROSS research and the practical examples support better local governance of aquatic ecosystems. Through enhanced protection and improved management practices in local areas, managers can maintain or even increase human health and well-being.
The integrative AQUACROSS approach allows the co-development of project outputs through participatory processes with stakeholders at the local level, enabling a sustainable shift in governance, as well as supporting innovation and business engagement. Knowing the importance biodiversity plays in providing valuable goods and services to society, AQUACROSS-generated knowledge can support innovation and cooperation with businesses to support aquatic biodiversity management that supports business and societal outcomes.