“Biodiversity in regions and cities” – EU week of Regions and Cities

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Yearly, the European Week of Regions and Cities is co-organised by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO) and the European Committee of the Regions (CoR). It aims at promoting initiatives of local and regional authorities in Europe and in 2017, the Week was celebrated with a series of workshop and conference sessions that took place in Brussels, between the 9th -12th October 2017. 

 “Biodiversity in regions and cities

How to promote projects to support biodiversity protection in/near cities was the focus on the workshop on “Biodiversity in regions and cities”, organised by DG Environment and IEEP –Institute for European Environmental Policy– during the European Week of Region and Cities.

EUROPARC attended the event sharing in particular, but not only, the experience of periurban parks. In Europe, several small cities and villages are located inside regional and national parks, therefore, the connection between urban planning and biodiversity conservation is of great interest to many protected areas – despite their type or category.

The day’s focus and discussions followed the guidance on how to proof EU Cohesion funding for biodiversity. It targeted in particular national and regional authorities responsible for planning and managing the EU Cohesion Policy funds in the context of nature and biodiversity.

From the debate emerged that often lack of capacity in many local administration to deal with the complex procedures of the EU Cohesion Policy and related funding (ERDF, ESF, Cohesion Fund) makes many funds not enough/well used: a simplification of the procedures would be useful.

Other important point discussed was that usually, the local department in charge for the Cohesion Funds is responsible for Development and not for Environment, and, consequently, often these funds are addressed to promote big infrastructures or industrial initiatives – a good collaboration among local department is needed to enlarge the general comprehension on how these funds can be used.

A final important suggestion to use the Cohesion Funds is to emphasize the multibenefits of nature conservation, that permits to access to measures and funds apparently not devoted to biodiversity.

To know more about EU Cohesion funding for biodiversity:

The EU week of Regions and Cities celebrated its 15th Anniversary in 2017