Setting the ground to advance MAES in Europe´s overseas
Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES), as part of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, is entering a new phase in the Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories of the European Union. With the Kick-off of the MOVE-ON Project, the European Commission funded another initiative to enhance work on ecosystems, their services, biodiversity and condition in the EU Overseas.
The foundation for the work on MAES in the EU Overseas has been set in 2017, when the EU MOVE Project was initiated. This project aims to “Facilitating MAES to support regional policy in Overseas Europe: mobilizing stakeholders and pooling resources” and comprises a consortium of 14 project partners including the South Atlantic Islands (SAERI, University of Portsmouth), French Guiana (CIRAD), the Caribbean Netherlands (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Wolfs Company), La Réunion, Martinique (IRD), the Canaries and the Azores. Institutions from EU Mainland support the EU Overseas in the project, such as Leibniz University of Hanover, University of Trento and University of Madrid. Implementing first case studies in the respective Overseas regions, MAES methods developed in EU mainland are currently tested and adapted for island specificities. This marks a first attempt to actively engage the EU Overseas in the MAES process.
Building upon this work, the MOVE-ON Project, “Setting the ground to advance MAES in Europe´s overseas: From case studies to anchor projects”, kicked off virtually on May 12 -14th. The project is coordinated by the Regional Government of the Azores, trough the Regional Fund for Science and Technology (FRCT) and will have a duration of 3 years and total funding of 1,499,856 €. The MOVE-ON project intensifies the existing collaboration of MOVE and deepens the work in four so-called anchor regions. These anchor regions are located in French Guiana, the South Atlantic, Macaronesia and La Réunion. These regions cover topics such as the elaboration of sustainable development plans and ecosystem services management plans, marine ecosystem condition assessment and mapping, assessment of ecosystem services and functionality and the implementation of ES mapping and assessment outcomes. In close collaboration with policy and decision makers, stakeholders and the civil society, the MAES process will be encouraged from a bottom-up approach. This way, the MOVE-ON aims to accelerate the uptake of MAES and showcase first examples from the science-policy interface in the EU Overseas by 2023.