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ALTER-Net: A Long-Term Biodiversity, Ecosystem and Awareness Research Network

Europe’s ecosystem research network


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ALTER-Net conference discusses the implementation of the European Biodiversity Strategy: how to move ahead?

Ghent, April 15th | This week over 200 scientists from 66 European research institutes and more than 25 countries, together with European policy makers gather to search for scientifically sound, evidence-based recommendations on how to implement and realize the 2020 European Biodiversity Strategy. Organized by the European biodiversity research network ALTER-Net together with the European Commission, they “retreat” for four days in the Augustinian Monastery in Ghent (Belgium).

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The conference recommendations will be presented to EU policy makers and form a starting point for the EPBRS meeting (European Platform on Biodiversity Research Strategy), organized under the Irish EU Presidency in May in Dublin.

Why an EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy?

Admitting the overall failure of the previous European strategy to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2010, the EU adopted a new strategy in 2011 with a 2050 vision and a 2020 headline target. The 2020 target was defined as: “Halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020, and restoring them in so far as feasible, while stepping up the EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss”.

The EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy includes six mutually supportive and interdependent targets that respond to the objectives of the 2020 headline target:

  1. Conserving and restoring nature
  2. Maintaining and enhancing ecosystems and their services
  3. Ensuring the sustainability of agriculture, forestry and fisheries
  4. Combating invasive alien species
  5. Addressing the global biodiversity crisis
  6. Contributions of other environmental policies and initiatives



During workshops, groups of scientists and policy makers will discuss these targets, and present their recommendations on the implementation and realization of targets during the final plenary session on Thursday afternoon.

On Monday, the 15th, the conference also presents a première of the film “Le Peuple des Océans” by Jacques Perrin, known from his previous nature documentaries “Microcosmos” and “Winged Migration”; it is meant as an illustration of how documentary film making can add to the societal involvement in biodiversity and ecosystem issues.

For additional information on preliminary statements, side events on other on-going European initiatives, and other ALTER-Net activities, see

What’s ALTER-Net?

ALTER-Net brings together 26 leading scientific institutes from 18 European countries. They share the goal of integrating their research capability to assess changes in biodiversity, analyse the effect of those changes on ecosystem services and inform the public and policy makers on the issues at a European scale. Originally funded by the European Union’s Framework VI program to stimulate a collaborative approach, ALTER-Net is now operating independently.

Being an independent science-policy interface network working on biodiversity and ecosystem (services) issues, ALTER-Net wants to positively help the EU in realizing their biodiversity targets by providing its scientific knowledge, e.g. by pointing out possible weaknesses, opportunities and necessities, and by helping to find solutions and evidence-based actions.

Notes to the editor:

  • Contact: Koen van Muylem (local press contact person) , INBO, Belgium (Koen.VANMUYLEM@INBO.BE)
  • Conference web pages
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