Wageningen Environmental Research has just secured a 30 month service contract from the European Commission worth €500,000 to provide a "systematic review of evidence-based improvements in the implementation of the European Birds and Habitat Directives". The project partners are from Belgium (two), Germany, and the Netherlands (three including WENR).
Anne Schmidt, who coordinated the proposal development and will take on the role of project manager said: “We submitted the proposal at the beginning of February but in the end it was really worth the wait and we are delighted with this result. We knew that it would be a tough competition and that we were under pressure to deliver a high quality offer that made the most of our skills and experience. The Biodiverse Environment programme was able to quickly find and negotiate with a set of partners who complemented us in terms of their specialisms.”
WENR researchers Anne Schmidt, Theo van der Sluis and Irene Bouwma put in a lot of effort to complete a strong proposal. Lawrence Jones-Walters, WENR Programme Leader Biodiverse Environment, provided advice on content and assisted with quality control and from WUR several others supplied their CVs, project descriptions and scientific expertise.
In 2017 the European Commission developed an Action Plan to improve the implementation of the Birds and Habitat Directives following a review of their effectiveness that concluded in 2016 – the so called “fitness check”. This comprehensive action plan aims to rapidly improve practical implementation of the Nature Directives and accelerate progress towards the EU 2020 goal of halting and reversing the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, including in relation to climate resilience and mitigation. This service contract makes a particularly important contribution to the delivery of the Action Plan, and to the achievement of the objectives of the Nature Directives by building on the knowledge and evidence-base gathered during the Fitness Check. Lawrence Jones-Walters: “Indeed, the successful delivery of the requirements of the call is nothing less than critical in terms of providing an effective response to the outcome of the Refit and filling the knowledge gaps.”
Anne Schmidt went on to say: “Given the importance that the Commission has attributed to this call, this is a great opportunity for us to make an impact at European policy level through our knowledge of the Directives, nature policy and delivery. Above all, for us, this is about content and it also gives us a chance to show what we can offer on a European stage.”
Lawrence Jones-Walters congratulated the team: “Based on the content of the proposal and the quality of the consortium, I thought that we had a strong chance and I am happy that the Commission finally chose for us. This will be another important project that will connect us to policy makers at EU level and the improved visibility from our involvement will help us in future international work and acquisition.”