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Establishing a European Knowledge and Learning Mechanism to Improve the Policy-Science-Society Interface on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - EKLIPSE (Establishing a European Knowledge and Learning Mechanism to Improve the Policy-Science-Society Interface on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services)

Reporting period: 2017-08-01 to 2019-01-31

The last few years have seen significant progress on understanding and improving the science-policy-society interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services, and beyond. These contributions have been useful in promoting a more effective science-policy interface but more is needed to address the interactions between science, policy and society in relation to biodiversity and ecosystem services in the European context. The aim of the EKLIPSE project is to develop an innovative, light, ethical and self-sustainable EU support mechanism for evidence-based and evidence-informed policy on biodiversity and ecosystem services, and to hand over this mechanism to the wider community once established. The mechanism resulting from this project will be developed by building on existing science-policy-society interface approaches and further refined through iterative learning and evaluation throughout the project. The mechanism will provide trustworthy evidence for policy and society upon request and will make the knowledge community more responsive by providing a platform for mutual learning and engagement with policy and society.

Building on the above requirement, this project has five specific objectives:
• Objective 1. To set up a light and transparent governance model for a self-sustainable support mechanism for evidence-based policy on biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU
• Objective 2. To coordinate innovative and transparent approaches for science, policy and societal actors to jointly provide evidence leading to better informed decision-making
• Objective 3. To promote the effective engagement of all society, research and policy actors in multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary consultations to jointly identify research priorities and emerging issues related to biodiversity and ecosystem services
• Objective 4. To engage better with those networks whose knowledge has a key potential impact on biodiversity and ecosystem services
• Objective 5. To encourage societal debate on and engagement with relevant policy and research on biodiversity and ecosystem services
• The main achievements of Work Package 1 have been the development of the project and future mechanism’s governance structure, the 1st EKLIPSE joint science-policy-society conference in December 2016 and the EKLIPSE Proof of Concept Conference in January 2019.

• Work Package 2 set up a framework for formative evaluation (D2.1 D2.2) achieved and developed through the first evaluation symposium in October 2016 and three intervention workshops (D 2.3).

• Work Package 3 set up the first KCB in November 2016, a second KCB in August 2018..
• The expert group on methods has produced guidance on the selection of knowledge synthesis methods, including 21 fact sheets (D.3.1).
• The first request – on Nature-based solutions to promote climate resilience in urban areas: developing an impact evaluation framework – resulted in a synthesis report for the new generation of NBS projects
• Our 1st Call for Requests (July 2016) generated 15 submissions of which five were selected, three for WP3 one for WP4 (Horizon Scanning) and one for WP6 (Societal Engagement).
• Our 2nd Call for Requests (Oct 2017) generated 12 submissions and resulted in the selection of five requests.
• Our 3rd Call for Requests (April 2018) generated 10 submissions, four of which were selected.
• WP3 requests in the scoping phase (in RP2)
1. CfR.3/2018/1 – pollinator populations
2. CfR.2/2017/4 – CBD reporting methodologies
• WP3 ongoing requests
3. CfR.2/2017/1 – European energy policies and global biodiversity
4. CfR.1/2016/1 – farmer uptake of measures to support biodiversity in the CAP
5. CfR.1/2016/2 – blue/green spaces, human mental health and mental wellbeing
6. CfR.1/2016/3 – business, environmental regulators and biodiversity

• Work Package 4 organised a foresight workshop with BiodivERsA and the European Platform for Biodiversity Research Strategy (EPBRS) (December 2016) on social Innovation and Nature-Based Solutions.
• WP4 carried out a review on the barriers of engagement of various types of actors in the identification of research priorities and emerging issues (D4.1).
• WP4 worked on a request submitted by BugLife – “Impacts of Electromagnetic radiations on wildlife including fauna and flora” – which included a 4 day web conference.
• WP4 organized a Horizon Scanning workshop, on the 13 &14 December 2017, together with the EU Policy Lab (Foresight Team) of the Joint Research Centre.
• WP4 has also organized a horizon scanning workshop together with ALTER-Net, September 2018 on the Post2020 Biodiversity Strategy.

• Work Package 5 focused on a series of networking and communication objectives, including • development of 2 Dynamic Maps (D.5.1) to better illustrate the typology of the networks which can participate in the Network of Networks (NoN).
• An International Communication and Collaboration Plan (D5.5) was produced.
• The KNOCK Forum, the online science-policy-society forum of EKLIPSE (D5.6) was launched.
• A report on the engagement of networks in the mechanism (D5.2) was completed.
• A Training Strategy (D5.3) was published, followed by the 1st EKLIPSE Call for Capacity Building Events, which resulted in four joint activities.
• The 2nd EKLIPSE Call for the organization of Capacity Building Events was published May 2018, and resulted in 5 events being selected for implementation in 2019.
• WP5 co-organised and facilitated the 4th International Science Forum, in response to the EC DG R&I request at the CBD CoP14 Sharm el-Sheik, November 2018.

• Work Package 6 produced a Societal actors communication and engagement strategy (D6.1).
• An infrastructure for advanced social engagement within the science-policy-society forum of EKLIPSE was developed: called KNOCK (Knowledge Network and Open Community) (D6.2). The KNOCK forum facilitated online discussion on valuing nature in response to the request received from ClientEarth.
• WP6 has organized several science cafés, including three held to address the ClientEarth request, one local , one semi-online café also, and one online EU-wide science café, managed from three hubs around Europe.
• A capacity building course titled “Interplays of science, policy and society for planetary wellbeing: meaningful science communication and outreach on European scale” was organized at the 5th European Congress of Conservation Biology (ECCB2018).
• WP6 produced a practical policy brief about multilevel societal engagement in the EU.
The main expected impacts of the EKLIPSE project are:
• The provision and effective communication of credible and timely co-synthesised evidence on issues identified by policy and other societal actors;
• Better and more pro-active identification and framing of research and policy activities in the short (<3 years) and longer term (3-10 years);
• Provision of research recommendations to support the EC and policy-making in the EU more generally, and improved co-ordination of EU and Member State/Associated Country research and innovation programmes;
• Improved synergies with international research and innovation programmes on biodiversity and ecosystem services to support policy-making in the EU;
• Better engagement of key actors whose knowledge has a key potential impact on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Within the first 3 years of the project), the project has already delivered on all these objectives.