European drivers for good landscape and biodiversity governance in Eastern Europe

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European drivers for good landscape and biodiversity governance in Eastern Europe

Belarusian-Russian University, Mahilioŭ, Belarus, August 13-14, 2018

The workshop aim, objectives and outcomes

The aim of the workshops was to discuss the state of the art in the development of EU biodiversity policies, and their external dimension (intended and unintended) in the context of the countries of Eastern Neighbourhood (also EaP) (especially Belarus) and Russia. We primarily explored the conventions of the Council of Europe:

  • European Landscape (Florence) Convention (not ratified by Belarus and Russia),
  • Berne Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats.

In addition, we discussed the UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention), recognising its high potential for the promotion of good environmental governance.

We explored, how the Conventions provide (or can provide in case of the Florence Convention) useful context for addressing the challenges faced by key stakeholders groups involved to biodiversity governance. We also took into account that the implementation of these conventions, as well as their potential to achieve the set targets were heavily contested by the stakeholders in Eastern Europe.

During the workshop we examined, what were the challenges addressed (or expected to be addressed) by the Conventions, what were their perceived or expected impacts by various stakeholder groups, what agendas were persuaded, and how to make better use of the conventions and their institutions. We also explored specific management and research tools promoted by the convention (e.g. mechanisms for the identification of Emerald network sites under the Berne Convention), and their relevance and utility in the Eastern European policy, management, physical planning and academic contexts.

In addition, we discussed the EU Research and Innovation Policy on Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) (European Commission, 2015), as a potential driver for innovative development in the fields, and also tried to identify other policies and mechanisms the EU had in place and that could be used for the promotion of quality landscapes, biodiversity conservation targets and sustainable livelihoods in Eastern Europe. This discussion was closely related with the discussion on the Conventions, and it provided space for highly specific local issues from peri-urban and urban contexts from across Eastern and Central Europe.

Workshop participants

The workshop brought together researchers and representatives of various stakeholder groups from the EU and Eastern European countries:

  • Representatives of stakeholder involved with biodiversity and land-use governance in Eastern Europe, including biodiversity conservation areas, conservation agencies, local authorities, representatives of business, academia and NGO sector.
  • Representatives of EU institutions and of various EU interest groups.
  • Keynote speakers, high profile scientists.
  • Postdocs or advanced PhD students working on or interested to develop new research on the case studies.

Preliminary Schedule

August 13, 2018: Aarhus, Florence and Bern Conventions: what is their value for the EaP and Russia?

On the morning and early afternoon we will hear keynote speakers covering national policy frameworks, challenges and implementation experiences (including spatial planning, development of ecological networks and corridors etc) in Belarus, Russia and selected Eastern & Central European countries departing from similar political and/or socioeconomic contexts. The late afternoon will provide space for a panel discussion on usability and performance of the Conventions.

August 14, 2018: Nature-Based Solutions for Smart Cities – what EU/Visegrad experience can be shared?

Likewise, the morning and early afternoon sessions will be filled with the talks describing local cases and national challenges in relation to NBS and smart cities across the EaP and Russia, as well as Visegrad and other EU countries. In the late afternoon we will wrap up, relate to the outcomes of the previous day, and make broader conclusions on the role of management and policy tools provided by the Conventions in the promotion of NBS and smart cities.


GRASS – EU governance of natural resources: geopolitics, regions and sectors (587697-EPP-1-2017-1-RUEPPJMO-PROJECT)

  • Pskov State University (RU)
  • Erda Research, Technology, Education (NL)
  • Central European University (HU)
  • Estonian University of Life Sciences (EE)
  • NGO Ekapraekt (BY)
  • RZ. Research. Management. Communication (SE)


NEXT – Nature-Based Solutions for Smart Cities (the project of the International Visegrad Foundation)

  • Belarusian-Russian University (RU)
  • Warsaw University of Life Sciences (PL)
  • Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (CZ)
  • Slovak University of Agriculture (SK)
  • Hungarian Climate Alliance (HU)


SMART-U-GREEN - Governing conflicting perspectives on transformations in the urban rural continuum

  • DRIFT Erasmus University Rotterdam (NL)
  • SAAD University of Camerino (IT)
  • IATEUR IRCS Université de Reims (FR)
  • Regio Drechtsteden (NL)
  • Marche Region (IT)
  • Reims Métropole (FR)
  • School of Environmental Design and Rural Development University of Guelph (CA)
  • Department for Urban and Spatial Planning and Landscape Architecture University of Zagreb (HR)
  • Pskov State University, Faculty of Natural Sciences (RU)

Call for expressions of interest is here.

Expressions of interest accompanied by CV are accepted until June 15, 2018 through


International practical and scientific workshop agenda and list of participants are here.