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

Reporting period: 2020-12-01 to 2021-11-30

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 and the third in June 2020.
• The expert group on methods has produced guidance on the selection of knowledge synthesis methods, including 21 fact sheets.
• 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
• Five Calls for Requests (July 2016) 45 submissions of which thirteen were selected
• WP3 finalized all 13 requests
• 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).
• A Training Strategy was published, followed by three EKLIPSE Call for Capacity Building Events, which resulted in eleven joint activities.
• 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.
• WP6 produced a policy brief about multilevel societal engagement in the EU
WP6 produced a series of six podcasts presenting the added value of Eklipse as well as topics and results of five requests to an interested public.
WP7 identified three potential knowledge needs related to Biodiversity and Pandemics, including zoonotic diseases.
The main expected impacts of the EKLIPSE project are:
• 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 of knowledge needs of research and policy;
• Improved synergies with international research on biodiversity and ecosystem services to support policy-making
• Better engagement of key actors whose knowledge has a potential impact on biodiversity and ecosystem services.
the project has delivered on these objectives, mainly through:
- creating a credible, relevant and legitimate governance structure and a robust process to synthesize the best available knowledge for policy and decision making
- implementing our unique ethical infrastructure to ensure that all EKLIPSE processes are robust, thus strengthening recognition and transparency of its processes.
- making documentation on all processes and outputs, most prominently the jointly developed evidence reports, available on our website.
- conducting foresight activities including workshops organized by EKLIPSE jointly with Biodiversa, EPBRS, JRC.
- developing and strengthening the “Network of Networks” of knowledge holders.
- organising Science cafés to engage more with societal actors – who play an essential role as requesters and as knowledge holders.
- organizing two large science-policy-society conferences two SPI training workshops and supporting 18 capacity building events.
Eklipse with all its structures and procedures has been handed over to the broader community and is now being managed by Alternet.
Since December 2020 Eklipse is functioning as a hybrid mechanism, partially as European Union funded project until September 2022 and partially by the Alternet NGO.
EKLIPSE request process