Nature lends a hand
UAntwerp to host first conference on ecosystem services from 19 to 23 September.
Helping nature to help us: that is the main idea behind the first European conference on ecosystem services. Between 19 and 23 September, more than 600 participants from all over the world will make their way to the University of Antwerp to debate and learn more about how nature contributes to human well-being and vice versa.
An ecosystem service is a service provided to mankind by nature. Such services can take many different forms: an ecosystem can produce drinking water, for example, but also pollinate crops and provide opportunities for recreation.
In other words, healthy ecosystems are invaluable both to human well-being and to the protection of nature. So it should come as no surprise that scientists, companies and policy makers are beginning to pay more and more attention to them. The global Ecosystem Services Partnership is now working with three research projects – OpenNESS, OPERAs and ECOPLAN – to organise a conference on this topic for the first time in Europe.
From 19 to 23 September, over 600 scientists, policy makers and people working in the field will attend the European Ecosystem Services conference in Antwerp. Over the course of five days, they will tackle a multitude of aspects related to the earth’s natural assets.
Some of the highlights:
- On Monday 19 September the participants will hear from Antwerp provincial governor Cathy Berx and MEP Bas Eickhout. The panel will be led by Belgian television personality and film director Nic Balthazar.
- On Tuesday 20 September, there will be an ecosystem services market with 40 stands related to the practice of ecosystem services (projects, initiatives, companies).
- On Friday 23 September, the Antwerp declaration will be signed and we will hear speeches from European Commission directors Humberto Delgado Rosa (EC-DG Environment) and Birgit de Boissezon (EC-DG Research & Innovation), as well as Hans Bruyninckx, director of the European Environment Agency. The closing speech will be given by Kai Chan of the University of British Columbia, a leading figure in the world of ecosystem services and a gifted speaker.
- Launch of Oppla (www.oppla.eu), a new platform and community for helping put ecosystem services into practice and supporting nature-based solutions.
As a partner in OpenNESS, ECNC is centrally involved in organising and chairing the conference.