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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 this 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.   More information 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
On 3 September, in the margin of the fourteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP14) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) event in New Delhi, India, the BES-Net organized a side together with the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).   While LDN setting and implementation process are largely led by Government in many countries, as the UN Secretary General firmly stated, it is everybody’s business to put degraded lands back to life. We, humans, all depend our life and livelihoods on land directly or indirectly.  With just over a decade left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets, including SDG15.3, it is of critical importance to bring all the stakeholders together for the land rehabilitation, restoration and management actions, building on the latest scientific evidences as well as the long-established traditional local knowledge and practice.   The aim of the side event was to demonstrate the potentials of scaling up and accelerating the implementation of Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) by strengthening the science-policy-practice interface. The event presented the latest land-related scientific evidences produced by IPBES, as well as the BES-Net’s Trialogue tool, as a window of opportunity to promote the integration of these new findings and recommendations into national/sub-national policies and on-the ground practices. The representatives of from Ghana, Nigeria and Zambia also shared their respective insights including the key highlights of the country team’s experiences at the Anglophone Africa Regional Trialogue and brief summaries of any post-Trialogue actions ongoing and/or planned by science, policy and practice communities in support of LDN implementation.   The Anglophone Africa Regional Trialogue was organized on 28-30 May 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya, with the financial support of to the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) and SwedBio at the Stockholm Resilience Centre.   For more information please press here.  
Date: 04 September 2019
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As part of the implemention of the national strategy to protect pollinating species threatened with extinction, Nigeria joined the ‘Coalition of the Willing on Pollinators’, a global alliance of like-minded countries for promoting pollinator protection. To affirm this commitment, the nation’s federal officials signed the Declaration of the Coalition of the Willing on 25 July 2019 in Abuja. By signing the Declaration, Nigeria reaffirmed its commitment to take action to protect pollinators and their habitats by developing and implementing national pollinator strategies consistent with the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services’ (IPBES) thematic assessment on pollinators, pollination and food production; sharing experience and lessons in developing and implementing national pollinator strategies; reaching out to seek collaboration with a broad spectrum of stakeholders; developing research on pollinator conservation; and supporting the collaboration. Mr Sikiru Tiamiyu, the Deputy Director in the Forestry Department of the Federal Ministry of Environment said: “The project is about pollinators and how it relates to land degradation. The idea behind the project is that, for any crop to yield, there must be pollination.” During the signing event, participants also reviewed and adopted the Pollinator Friendly Land Degradation Neutrality Country Action Plan, which was the key outcome of the Anglophone Africa Regional Trialogue: Bright Spots for Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN), Pollinators and Food Security, which was organized by  the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Network (BES-Net) on 28-30 May 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya. The Regional Trialogue  reviewed the key messages of the two inter-linked thematic assessment reports produced by IPBES on pollinators, pollination and food production and land degradation and restoration and their relevance to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets. Nigeria becomes the 28th signatory to the Declaration, following Austria, Belgium, Colombia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Ethiopia, Ireland, Luxemburg, Mexico, Slovenia, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Slovakia, Peru, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay, BES-Net, Norway, Estonia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Morocco and Burundi. For more details please press here. Please download the Press Statement here: [ENG] [DUTCH]  
Date: 30 July 2019
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Environment News, Nigeria
Dr. Venecia Alvarez, a participant in the BES-Net’s Caribbean Regional Trialogue, recently contributed an article to the Verdor Magazine - the magazine of the Dominican Academy of Sciences in the Dominican Republic.   Dr. Alvarez is a member of the Commission of Natural Sciences and Environment of the Dominican Academy of Sciences and a member of the panel of experts of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) for the Caribbean and Latin American region. Her article titled “IPBES’s role in the Dominican Republic” sheds light on the BES-Net Trialogue, which was held on 4-6 September 2018 in Santo Domingo, and the post-Trialogue actions having taken to date in the Dominican Republic.   Inter alia, the author analyzes the relevance and importance of the United Nations’ collaboration to promote the uptake of the IPBES assessment findings and messages in the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean, through the lenses of the first IPBES Global thematic Assessment on Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production. The author highlights how the Trialogue brought together the seven island countries of the Caribbean Region and facilitated the multisectoral dialogues of political, scientific and practice communities around the themes of protecting the pollinators with the improved understanding of their roles in food security and the resilience to climate change in the region. Some of the keys agreed on follow-up action points by the participants include:   safeguard pollinators; guarantee a greater diversity of habitats; promote sustainable agriculture; support of traditional practices such as: management of the habitat patch and the rotation of crops broader education and knowledge exchange; decreased exposure of pollinators to pesticides; improve the breeding of bees. Dr. Alvarez states in the same article that “As a result of the second Regional Trialogue, the participants agreed on the development and implementation of a Regional Action Plan, which includes national and local actions for each country. As she further emphasizes “The Dominican Republic, through the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, committed to comply with the priority actions, identified and included in said Action Plan. With this activity, IPBES made a valuable contribution, to the protection of biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as food production, to the benefit of the well-being of all the Dominicans. From the current edition of this Verdor Magazine, the Academy of Sciences of the Dominican Republic will monitor compliance with commitments assumed by the Dominican State, through the Plan of Action 2018-2030. In this way, this scientific entity intends to do their contribution from an academic point of view to contribute to the conservation and sustainable use for pollinators, their importance in biodiversity, in the production of food and therefore in the reduction of poverty”, stated Dr. Alvarez. For more information about IPBES in the Dominican Republic, please read the original article in Spanish here.  
Date: 02 July 2019
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Dr Venecia Alvarez
The concept of the Blue Economy has recently attracted considerable attention as a basis to strengthen marine ecosystems, through which to promote economic growth, environmental sustainability and social inclusion. This approach underscores the importance of using ocean and other water resources sustainably. A number of initiatives have already been implemented around the world, such as the regulation of coastal activities, sustainable wetlands management, mangroves restoration, management of storm surges and fishing activities, etc., as the strategies to strengthen habitat protection of the marine environment and reduce pollution among other issues.   A side event conducted during the recent UN Habitat Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, in May 2019 triggered discourse on how to enhance stakeholders’ partnerships and collaboration at national and international levels to address the common challenges and opportunities between Blue Economy and cities. Several nations recognised that cities take a center stage in solving environmental issues. Cities consume large amounts of natural resources, produce tonnes of waste and emissions, all of which have significant impacts on the regional and planetary environment.  Effective urban and regional planning is therefore crucial and must be managed by anticipating, mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change.  Member countries of the UN Habitat Governing Council concurred on the importance of protecting and restoring the health, productivity and resilience of oceans and marine ecosystem to maintain their diversity and to enable sustainable use of resource for the present and future. The UN Habitat Background Paper on Blue Economy and Cities (2018) stresses that ‘spatial planning, integrated conservation, sustainable and efficient resource use are necessary tools and mechanisms to achieve sustainable development.’ The Paper highlights governance of marine and other water body environments and harmonizing them into national and regional urban policies, goals, plans and actions for better economic, social and environmental outcomes.  It also underscores the importance of involving all stakeholders in the Blue Economy infrastructure planning and design for cities, including informal settlements, low carbon plans and basic services while taking into consideration hinterlands, maritime space and foreland to drive integrated solutions.  A holistic approach would be further supported by effective governance and financing. More details are available here:
Date: 25 June 2019
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