News

January 2015

COHAB Initiative connects with EU OpenNESS project -

Operationalising Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital

 

The head of the COHAB Initiative Secretariat has joined with the European Union's OpenNESS project on the operationalisation of ecosystem service and natural capital.

OpenNESS is a major research initiative funded under the EU's FP7 programme for research and innovation, which aims to translate the concepts of Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services into operational frameworks that provide tested, practical and tailored solutions for integrating ecosystem services into land, water and urban management and decision-making. It examines how the concepts link to, and support, wider EU economic, social and environmental policy initiatives and examines the potential and limitations of the concepts.

COHAB's Executive Director, Mr Conor Kretsch, has taken up a post as a Research Fellow in Ecosystems and Human Health at the Centre for Environmental Management (CEM) at the University of Nottingham (UK) to work on the project. CEM are leading Work Package 1 for OpenNESS, focussing on the development of conceptual frameworks for understanding the links between biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, ecosystem services, and human communities. In particular, the project team at CEM and their European partners are examining how concepts of ecosystem services and natural capital can inform solutions to four key strategic challenges facing the EU - advancing human well-being, promoting effective governance for sustainable development, ensuring sustainable use and management of Europe's ecosystems, and enhancing social justice and competitiveness.

Mr. Kretsch has for many years been involved in the development of conceptual frameworks for linking biodiversity, ecosystems and human health in research, policy and practice, and he will contribute his expertise in ecosystem approaches to health and well-being to the OpenNESS project. He will also assist with work on social justice and competitiveness, including issues relating to social and environmental determinants of health and health inequalities. "OpenNESS is about collating all of the available knowledge and theory about how biodiversity relates to ecosystem services and human well-being, and using it to develop practical solutions for real-world applications," Mr. Kretsch says. "In this way it seeks to translate complex science into effective policy that can have a real benefit for people and nature. The opportunity to work at CEM in Nottingham with the world's leading experts in ecosystem service science is very exciting."

By testing these conceptual frameworks through 27 real-world case studies in 17 countries, OpenNESS seeks to guide the development of effective policies that mainstream biodiversity and ecosystem services in across all sectors of governance, meeting the present and future resource demands of a changing Europe whilst ensuring the conservation and sustaiable use of biodiversity remains a priority.

For further information on the OpenNESS project, visit the project website.

 

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