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The International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU) awarded EUR 20 million to support Phase II of the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Network (BES-Net) initiative for the period 2020-2028.  The award will allow the BES-Net consortium partners, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to build on the achievement of, and continue the proven practices of, Phase I.  As a capacity sharing ‘network of networks’, BES-Net has been dedicated to the promotion of dialogue and cooperation between science, policy and practice for effective biodiversity and ecosystem services (BES) management since 2016, with the objective of contributing to long-term human well-being and sustainable development. Leveraging from the experiences of Phase I, BES-Net Phase II will aim at formalizing the scientists-policymakers-practitioners partnership and strengthening synergy and complementarity in their BES-related decisions, actions and subsequent impacts in the target countries.  BES-Net Phase II will be implemented in alignment with the IPBES Work Programme and contribute particularly to the platform’s Capacity-Building Rolling Plan. The initiative will support evidence-based policymaking, strategic planning and the implementation of transformative solutions for BES protection in 18 countries. It will also upscale methodologies and approaches tested under BES-Net Phase I, by extending the National Ecosystem Assessment support in four new countries and facilitating triangular dialogues in 40 countries around the new BES thematic assessments to be produced by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).   “It is very timely to transform BES-Net from Phase I to more action-oriented Phase II in 2020, as we are going into a ‘biodiversity super year’”, said Anne Juepner, Director of the UNDP Global Policy Centre on Resilient Ecosystems and Desertification and Manager of the BES-Net initiative. “Nature is increasingly seen as one of the most effective ways to tackle a myriad of socio-environmental challenges and achieving sustainable development goals. In close partnership with UNEP-WCMC and UNESCO, we will support the countries to ensure that their effort towards nature-based solutions and commitment in implementing the post-2020 global biodiversity framework is underpinned by the best scientific evidence and the wealth of indigenous and local knowledge.”   
Date: 20 December 2019
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The introduction and establishment of invasive aquatic species is considered to be one of the greatest threats to the world’s freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems. In addition, the global economic impacts of invasive species, including through disruption to fisheries, biofouling of coastal industry, infrastructure and interference with human amenity, have been estimated at several hundred million dollars per year. The main vectors for unintentional transfer of non-indigenous species are ships' ballast water, biofouling of mobile marine structures, and aquaculture.   The GloFouling Partnerships project - a collaboration between the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO), was launched in December 2018. Its main goals are: to raise awareness of how to protect marine biodiversity from the introduction of non-indigenous species into new ecosystems through biofouling; and to provide capacity building activities to the participating countries. Biofouling is the process by which marine organisms can build up on ships' hulls and the surface of other marine structures.   Since the launch of the project twenty-five Member States expressed their interest to take part, out of which twelve countries were selected as Lead Partnering Countries (LPCs) and the remaining thirteen will participate in the project as Partnering Countries (PCs) at the regional level. In the first year of the project nine LPCs (Brazil, Fiji, Indonesia, Jordan, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mexico, Philippines and Tonga) have hosted their first National Workshops and as a result established their National Task Forces (NTFs). In early 2020 the remaining three LPCs (Ecuador, Peru and Sri Lanka) will host their first meetings. Each LPC’s National Task Force will define a national policy on biofouling and invasive aquatic species, and will draft the national strategy and action plan to implement the IMO Biofouling Guidelines.   For a broader approach GloFouling Partnerships is working with seven regions (South America, South Asia, Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, Pacific, Eastern Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Wider Caribbean). This approach will help to deliver outputs more broadly within target regions and to deliver sustainable biofouling management measures beyond the life of the GloFouling Partnerships project.   Simultaneously other activities are being and will be implemented throughout the duration of the project, these include: A creation of a knowledge hub, which holds a pool of research documents, regulations and other information on biofouling; Organization of Research and Development (R&D) Forums on biofouling management and invasive aquatic species. The purpose of these international conferences is to bring together regulatory bodies, maritime industries, academia, leading scientific experts and technology development leaders in the field of biofouling management for a comprehensive overview; GloFouling Partnerships will establish and work closely with a Global Industry Alliance (GIA). Members of GIA will support improved biofouling management and marine biosafety initiatives via collectively identifying and developing innovative solutions; In addition to many other activities that are planned to be carried out, the project will also develop promotional material such as animations and leaflets to raise awareness on biofouling and invasive aquatic species.  
Date: 30 November 2019
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The Coalition of the Willing on Pollinators, or Promote Pollinators, delivered a statement at the ongoing (25-29 November 2019) Plenary of the 23rd Meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA23) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Montreal, urging member countries to adopt the protection of pollinators as one of the goals within the Post 2020 CBD framework. “We need to recognize and acknowledge pollination as a key element in the conservation of biological diversity”, stressed Martijn Thijssen, the Secretary of Promote Pollinators in his statement.  Expressing the Coalition’s willingness to support the group, he emphasized that the creation of a pollinator/pollination related target in the post 2020 CBD framework will bring us one step closer to the ultimate goal of giving pollinators and pollination the protection they deserve. Promote Pollinators was established during the thirteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CBD (COP13) in 2016 in order to place the protection of animal pollinator species on the World’s political agenda. Following on the recommendations from Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Assessment Report on Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production, Promote Pollinators is committed to take action to protect pollinators and their habitats by developing and implementing national pollinator strategies, with members mutually supporting each other, sharing experiences and lessons learned and promoting research on pollinator conservation. The coalition currently includes some 30 participating countries, as well as non-state members such as the European Union and BES-Net. As a way forward, Promote Pollinators recommended the creation of an ad-hoc open-ended working group to propose a specific target and indicators for pollinators and pollination. For the full statement please click here.  
Date: 28 November 2019
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Coalition of the Willing on Pollinators
Although Vietnam has hundreds of policies and regulations related to biodiversity conservation, it still lacks a comprehensive methodology and capacity for ecosystem assessment in the context of science-policy-practice interface. Under the framework of the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Network (BES-Net), an effort is currently ongoing to undertake the national ecosystem assessment (NEA) in Vietnam. NEA is a tool to support decision-making on ecosystem management planning, investments in ecosystem protection and development, as well as ecosystem service prioritization.     The initiative is by the Center for Biodiversity Conservation (CBC) under the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA), in collaboration with the Institute of Strategy and Policy for Natural Resources and Environment (ISPONRE)/ Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE). In addition to the delivery of Vietnam’s first NEA, the initiative also provides an opportunity to establish/strengthen stakeholders’ partnerships to improve the science-policy-practice interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Information and experiences compiled in Vietnam will be shared with seven other countries (i.e. Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Cameroon, Colombia, Ethiopia, Grenada and Vietnam) undertaking NEA through BES-Net and beyond.     The Vietnam NEA team, including representatives from relevant government and non-government organisations (NGOs), is currently refining the NEA Report and the associated Summary for Policy Makers (SPM). A consultation workshop is convened by CBC and ISPONRE/MONRE in collaboration with WWF Vietnam at this important juncture to make the NEA Report fully responsive to key policy windows and inclusive of different knowledge types.     The workshop will bring together about 80 participants from different ministries, institutes, universities, international and local NGOs and representatives from the provinces to review the contents of the draft NEA and explore mechanisms to strengthen collaboration between the three communities of science-policy-practice. The workshop is supported financially by the International Climate Initiative of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and WWF.  
Date: 25 November 2019
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The Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Network (BES-Net) Central Asia Regional Trialogue is taking place in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on 9-11 October 2019, engaging the six countries in the region, namely Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan with the financial support of the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. More than 75 key stakeholders from policy, science and practice communities are brought together to deliberate on region-specific challenges and opportunities around the issues of pollinators and land degradation, as highlighted in the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) thematic assessments, and move towards building a common agenda for actions.   In his opening statement, Hon. Yerlan Nyssanbayev, Vice Minister of Ecology, Geography and Natural Resources in Kazakhstan, pointed out the severances of land degradation facing the country and the wider Central Asia. He stressed the need to strengthen the regional partnership in close collaboration with UNDP and other agencies, and upscale the successful conservation and sustainable land management practices beyond national borders.   Mr. Vitalie Vremish, Deputy Resident Representative at UNDP Kazakhstan, emphasized UNDP’s commitment to support the Governments’ efforts in transition towards green economy in partnership with all key stakeholders across state institutions, private sector, as well as civil society.  “Let’s build a future in Central Asian countries where rising harm to the environment is only taught in history class”, he said.     “Decisive action now and over the coming years will be crucial to make the post-2020 global biodiversity framework a success”, said Ms. Schmidt, Deputy Consul-General of Germany in Kazakhstan. “We are convinced that bringing together academic scientists, policymakers and practitioners with local knowledge is a right way forward as the fora for exploring and designing intelligent and integrated to protect our own basis of life.”   Building on the successful organization of the three regional Trialogue in 2017-2019, the Central Asia Regional Trialogue aims at creating a welcoming and constructive space for the participants to share the latest knowledge about land degradation, status, trends and drivers of change, and its impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services (e.g. pollinators decline) at national and regional levels. The Trialogue will facilitate the participants to jointly identify the practical “bright spots” of measures that simultaneously contribute to the achievement of the global agendas on biodiversity (e.g. Aichi Target and the post-2020 global biodiversity framework),  land (e.g. Land Degradation Neutrality), and climate change.   The Trialogue event attracted the media’s attention. Read more here.   For further details please visit here.  
Date: 11 October 2019
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The Eastern Europe Regional Trialogue on Pollinators, Food Security was held in Sarajevo in October 2017 with the objective to reach a common agenda for action regarding pollinators in Eastern Europe. It was also  an opportunity to highlight  the fact that data about solitary bees for Bosnia and Herzegovina are outdated or missing. The only data regarding solitary bees was published by Apfelbeck (1896) and the faunistic list contains information about 120 bee species. This may suggest that  the number of bee species is lower in Bosnia and Herzegovina than in Croatia where 400 bee species were recorded on a list published by Vogrin (1916).   In December 2017, the National Geographic Grant program provided support to investigate the diversity of solitary bees and bumblebees on high mountain habitats and relict plant communities of Bosnia and Herzegovina; to develop monitoring programs and action plans for solitary bee conservation; and to raise public awareness about solitary bees. Thanks to the grant, we were able to purchase laboratory and field equipment along with taxonomic keys for bee identification. We also developed storage capacities for sampling at the Biology Department Sarajevo. We started collecting bees on-field, as well as laboratory identification of the collected bee species at the Biology Department, Faculty of Science and Mathematics Sarajevo.   The project will run until the end of 2019. So far, we have collected and listed 700 solitary bee and bumblebee specimens in the database. After we finish processing and identifying the material, we expect to have an additional 200 bee species on the fauna list for Bosnia and Herzegovina.   After the BES-Net Dialogue, it was a logical step to start bee studies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, yet some persistent challenges remain to be addressed. We have to motivate young scientists and students to start basic field and taxonomic work to learn more about native bee fauna taxonomy, ecology and distribution. In Bosnia, we do not have monitoring programs for bees, thus we cannot estimate the degree of threat to our bee species. Another problem is that in Bosnia and Herzegovina we have no early record data on their distribution and diversity. Also, there is no stable funding for bee studies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is essential for scientific work and development of identification and monitoring programs.   For further details, please contact Adis Vesnić at vesnicadi@gmail.com  
Date: 07 October 2019
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University of Sarajevo

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