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V4 & Eastern Partnership Cooperation in Biodiversity Conservation for Human Wellbeing

Biodiversity is of value to all of us for the ecosystem services that provide (economic, cultural, aesthetic, scientific, and educational) but experiences hard impacts that threaten its diversity. East Partnership countries are ones of the most interesting from the biodiversity point of view (world´s biodiversity hotspots), but also ones of the most threatened due to the misunderstanding of their importance for the well-being of local society and pillaging for quick profit. The challenge is to build an effective network of specialists, NGOs, local policymakers, and communities which will develop concepts, practices, and innovative management responses for better biodiversity protection, identifying and support the linkages between biodiversity and local community well-being and sustainable development. Another challenge is to put into practice the scientific teaching in the ecology education with the collaborative ´Fieldwork–Lab–Application´ focused on different target groups for the understanding of the biodiversity & human well-being relationships as well as the training of experts for future effective and sustainable development without biodiversity threatening.

The imperative of finding solutions that generate co-benefits alongside biodiversity conservation are recently stressed. Biodiversity can conceptually contribute to well-being since the biodiversity conservation is often a catalyst for ecosystem-based approaches to management. Therefore, researchers, policymakers, citizens, NGOs, and nature protection institutions will cooperate on the research of biodiversity in little-known territories and on proposals of policy ensuring effective conservation and sustainability of natural treasures. This project will work as an example for others regional actions. Better scientific knowledge and practical experience will allow identifying drivers and pressures of biodiversity; understanding causalities between biodiversity, ecosystem functions, and services. It will serve as a basis for future cooperation of small effective and responsible units in contrast to current bureaucratic, lengthy, inefficient, formal approaches which are focused on extremes – development, business, and profit OR strict protection regardless of the needs of the local society a. It will help to share knowledge and experiences between partners from countries with different nature protection status, between people with different skills, knowledge, and background for effective education, concepts, practices, and innovative management responses preparation. Specific outcomes: new competencies of regional and local actors in biodiversity and citizen’s well-being identifying; actuation of the environmental awareness of local communities and mobilization of local actors.