Engaging discussions, keynote speeches and a picturesque field trip marked the second SELINA thematic workshop
The second SELINA thematic workshop took place from 2-5 October 2023 in Madrid, Spain, hosted by SELINA’s partner Rey Juan Carlos University. This hybrid event with the theme "Advancing solutions" (for mapping, assessment and accounting of ecosystems and their services) brought together a total of over 100 participants (15 of them online) from all 27 EU member states, Israel, Norway, the UK and Switzerland. Apart from the SELINA partners, the event was also attended by the SELINA Advisory Board members and local stakeholders from the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge and the business sector (Ecoacsa and Tragsatec). The four-day meeting featured engaging discussions about the project’s progress and future steps, along with keynote speeches and a one-day field trip to the Sierra de Guadarrama’s national park.
During the meeting, SELINA’s partners presented their achievements since the last workshop in Sofia in March this year. Several parallel sessions were also organised, allowing in-depth discussion about the project’s activities and brainstorming about potential solutions and future directions. Among the main updates were the following:
The organisation of the national SELINA Communities of Practice has already started, with the Latvian national kick-off meeting held in May and others planned for late 2023 - early 2024.
Virtual science-policy-society dialogues will be initiated next year to ensure broader stakeholder engagement in developing the SELINA Compendium of Guidance.
Limited ecosystem services uptake in decision-making was revealed by SELINA surveys, which in turn provides an opportunity for SELINA to contribute to addressing this challenge through its work.
A compilation of 39 national and international ecosystem typologies has been identified for use by SELINA participating countries.
The further operationalisation of the SELINA open-access database has continued.
Two keynote talks on policy and business needs were delivered as well. First, Ioanna Grammatikopoulou from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) joined online to share insights about the past and current developments in enhancing ecosystem service and condition accounts to support EU policy, focusing on the three phases of the Integrated system of Natural Capital Accounting (INCA) project. Second, David Alvarez from Ecoacsa discussed the interaction between business and science, emphasising the need for natural capital accounting for companies. He introduced the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), approved in early 2023, that would contribute to businesses reporting about their impact on nature.
Another highlight of the meeting was the announcement of the launch of the network for SELINA early career researchers. Starting in November, monthly webinars will be organised to support early career scientists, providing opportunities to learn from peers, engage with various experts and disciplines represented within SELINA, and foster both professional and personal relationships. Another benefit would be sharing experience and knowledge, and developing or enhancing personal and professional skills. The members of the network will also gain insight into broader scientific, policy and practical issues related to the project and beyond.
The last day of the meeting was an opportunity for participants to explore the picturesque Sierra De Guadarrama national park located close to Madrid. The park stands as a symbol of rich biodiversity and conservation excellence. The field trip was guided by the director of Montes de Valsaín and Cabeza de Hierro who introduced the history of the park and answered questions about its flora and fauna species.
At the end of the workshop, the coordinator of SELINA, Prof. Dr. Benjamin Burkhard from Leibniz University Hannover, Germany, shared with excitement: “I am really happy to witness that the seeds of change we planted within SELINA have started growing into tangible outcomes. The progress we have made since our last meeting is promising and shows a significant leap forward in our collective mission. I would like to thank all the SELINA partners and stakeholders involved for their commitment and hard work.”
For more insights from the workshop and other SELINA activities, check out the SELINA website and follow SELINA on social media.
This workshop marks the second in a series of interactive workshops planned within the project, supporting a constant flow of information, joint creation and mutual exchange of knowledge. The first workshop took place in Sofia at the end of March 2023, while the third one will be held in Leiden, The Netherlands, in February 2024.