Biodiversity Newsflash 127

1 | IUCN members came together on the first ever IUCN Belgian Members day 2 | 2nd One Health Workshop: aiming at tackling the emergence of zoonotic disease 3 | Conference: One Health for All, All for One Health 4 | CO-OP 4 CBD Call for experts 5 | Launch of the WWF report 'onze natuur is goud waard'/'une nature qui vaut de l'or' 6 | Belgian Focal Point to the Convention of Biological Diversity: Political Monitoring 7 | Training: digitisation of Natural History collections 8 | Call for nominations to the 2023 GBIF Graduate Researchers Award 9 | TANGO1 Antarctic expedition completed 10 | Join the BiodivClim Knowledge Hub at the ECCA 2023 11 | New Biodiversa+ report released on biodivesity monitoring data 12 | Biodiversity News: Every month we present interesting item in the news that are worth sharing

Biodiversity Newsflash 127

May 2023

7 | Training: digitisation of Natural History collections
8 | Call for nominations to the 2023 GBIF Graduate Researchers Award 10 | Join the BiodivClim Knowledge Hub at the ECCA 2023
11 | New Biodiversa+ report released on biodivesity monitoring data
12 | Biodiversity News: Every month we present interesting item in the news that are worth sharing
1 | IUCN Members came together on the first evern IUCN Belgian Members day 

The IUCN Belgian Members Day was a truly successful event both in attendance and uptake. We were delighted to see so much interest in the work of IUCN at the Belgian level, European and global levels. Going forward we will continue our efforts at the IUCN Belgian focal point to keep members and stakeholders engaged.

Speaker presentations are now available for download on the event website. If would like more information on a specific slide or reference please let us know.

Please see below for useful information regarding the meeting and future opportunities to engage with the Belgian Focal point:

For more information, please contact Divija Jata, Operational Coordinator for the Belgian Biodiversity Platform

2 | 2nd One Health workshop: aiming at tackling the emergence of zoonotic disease 

The Belgian PREZODE Expert Group with support from the Belgian Biodiversity PlatformFPS Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment and Sciensano, is organising a second Workshop on tackling the emergence of zoonotic diseases, based on the outcome of the first Workshop.
During this event, we will provide insights on the four PREZODE pillars :
  1. Understand zoonotic risks and activities
  2. Reduction of risks
  3. Strengthening early-warning system
  4. Organizing surveillance and early detection
followed by breakout sessions for each pillar allowing the participants to provide feedback.
The workshop is open to experts in the fields of environment, animal health, human health, science policy, and scientific research.
Keep an eye on the webpage for more information.
June 30- 09:00 - 17:00
FPS Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment
Galileelaan-Avenue Galilée 5/2, 1210 Brussels

3 | Conference: One Health for All, All for One Health

The Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety of the European Commission (DG SANTE) is organising the High-level conference “One Health for All, All for One Health” on 13 November 2023, from 09:00 to 17:45, at the European Convention Centre LUXEMBOURG. The event will also be web-streamed on the European Commission’s Event website.

Under the impression of the COVID-19 pandemic and recent zoonotic epidemics, the rising silent pandemic of antimicrobial resistance, and the increasing impact of climate change on all living beings and on our environment, it is timely to take stock and to bring together relevant policy-makers, stakeholders and experts from within and outside Europe to discuss the future of ‘One Health’.

Let’s identify together the most promising, effective and pragmatic ‘One Health’ actions to address current and forthcoming challenges!

Please save the date, we look forward to your participation. Details on how to register and other relevant information and weblinks will follow in the course of June. In the meantime, you may already check out the European Commission’s One Health webpage here.

For more information on One Health related news, please contact Dominique Vandekerchove, One Health Expert at the Belgian Biodiversity Platform.

4 | CO-OP 4 CBD Call for experts 
The Cooperation for the Convention on Biological Diversity project (CO-OP4CBD) aims to enhance coordination within the European Union (EU) in advancing the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) by harnessing effectively the knowledge of biodiversity  experts.
In line with this, the CO-OP4CBD project is seeking to identify thematic experts to engage in formative science-policy processes that will guide and inform knowledge for the CBD in EU member states and Associated Countries. This is a great opportunity to contribute towards work with direct policy impact.
We are looking for experts willing to contribute their own time to be trained in CBD processes and provide their expertise on CBD agenda items as part of thematic groups. 
This is the first call for experts (as part of this four-year project), after which we plan to have established thematic expert groups that contribute to science-policy interface in Europe. 
The first formative workshops are planned to be held in September of this year.
Currently, we are looking for expertise in the following fields:
1.     Biodiversity indicators and monitoring 
2.     Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services 
3.     Sustainable wildlife management  
4.     Invasive alien species  
5.     Biodiversity and climate change
6.     Plant conservation 

By being part of this expertise network, you will be able to learn more about the CBD process, how to contribute to the making of biodiversity policies, access tailored training to better contribute to the CBD based on your field of expertise, meet researchers in your field and get the latest updates about the CBD. You will be part of a network of experts working towards improving the science-policy interface and in similar research fields. Your expertise is highly valuable for achieving this goal.

Do you or someone in your network have the required knowledge and interest to contribute toward impactful policy processes for biodiversity? If so, please fill in the registration form and/or share this message with your contacts.
Need additional information? Please contact the Alternet team at:
5 | Launch of the WWF report 'onze natuur is goud waard'/'une nature qui vaut de l'or'

On the occasion of the International Day of Biodiversity, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) released "Onze natuur is goud waard","Une nature qui vaut de l'or". This report sheds light on the urgent need for Belgium to allocate significantly more funding towards realizing its biodiversity ambitions. Experts, including Sonia Vanderhoeven from the Belgian Biodiversity Platform, contribute their knowledge and skills towards the writing of this report.

Belgium, like many other countries, faces a substantial gap between its aspirations and concrete actions when it comes to preserving biodiversity. WWF-Belgium has quantified this gap at a staggering €603 million per year. This substantial funding deficit impedes the country's ability to effectively address the challenges posed by biodiversity loss and to fulfill its commitments in this crucial area.

"Onze Natuur" underscores the pressing need for increased financial investments to bridge the gap between ambition and action. The report highlights the remarkable value of Belgium's natural heritage and emphasizes the importance of safeguarding it for future generations. By investing more in biodiversity conservation, Belgium can create tangible positive outcomes for both nature and society.

The findings of "Onze Natuur" serve as a call to action for policymakers, stakeholders, and citizens alike. It urges the Belgian government to allocate the necessary resources to fulfill its biodiversity commitments and make a substantial positive impact on the state of nature within the country. Furthermore, the report encourages engagement and collaboration across sectors to ensure the effective implementation of nature conservation measures.

For more information on, please contact Sonia Vanderhoeven, Science Officer at the Belgian Biodiversity Platform.

6 | Belgian Focal Point to the Convention of Biological Diversity: Political Monitoring

The Belgian National Focal Point to the CBD has released Political Monitoring: Biodiversity politics in Belgian parliaments for April 2023.

The political monitoring by the Belgian National Focal Point to the Convention on Biological Diversity is carried out on a periodic basis, with the goal of informing about political processes related to biodiversity in Belgium and the EU: the Chamber, the Senate, the Walloon Parliament, the Parliament of the Walloon-Brussels federation, the Flemish Parliament, the Brussels Parliament and the EU Parliament. An overview of topics discussed in the two most recent monitorings is provided below, together with pdf versions of the monitoring documents that include links to reports of the discussions. Pdf copies of older political monitorings can be found under the files list on the right.

For more information, please contact Leendert Plaetinck, Communication Officer for the Belgian Biodiversity Platform

7 | Training: digitisation of Natural History collections

The CETAF-DEST Training course “Digitisation of Natural History collections: From data quality to cleaning and data publishing. A hands-on experience” will target the basic and important steps and standards of the digitisation process of all biological, geological, palaeontological & mineralogical data of the natural history collections. These are:

  • Data quality for ensuring the maximum quality when digitising taxonomic, geographical, collection and descriptive data/
  • Data cleaning in order to improve the quality of data and make them “fit-for-use” 
  • The data visualisation focusing in applying visualisation techniques in clean data.
  • Biodiversity Data Standards, such as Darwin Core
  • ABCDEFG Standards which give access to Biological Collection Databases extended for Geosciences.
  • Publishing of data using the IPT for the biological data and the GeoCASe platform for the geological, palaeontological & mineralogical data.
  • The types of Data Sets convenient for publication in GeoCASe platform.

The course will be a 5 days ’hands-on experience. Trainees will have the possibility to bring sample(s) of their institutional biodiversity and geodiversity digital database and exercise on them.

more info and application
registration deadline: June 20th

For more information on CETAF related news, please contact Dimitri Brosens, GBIF Node Manager Belgium at the Belgian Biodiversity Platform.

8 | Call for nominations to the 2023 GBIF Graduate Researchers Award

On behalf of the network of national participants, the GBIF Secretariat is pleased to invite nominations for the 2023 Graduate Researchers Award. This annual programme aims to foster and recognize innovative research and discovery in biodiversity informatics by graduate students whose master’s and doctoral studies rely on GBIF-mediated data.

The 2023 programme will provide a pair of prizes worth €5,000 recognizing the work of two early-career researchers—preferably, one master’s and one PhD candidate—who will receive formal nominations from the heads of delegation or node managers of GBIF Participant countries.

A jury organized by the GBIF Science Committee will select two award recipients from the pool of nominees whose names are received by the GBIF Secretariat by 19 June 2023. The GBIF Secretariat will announce winners in early fall 2023 and present the winners at the 30th meeting of the GBIF Governing Board (GB30) planned for Canberra, Australia, in October 2023.

Call for nominations

For more information on GBIF related news, please contact Dimitri Brosens, GBIF Node Manager Belgium at the Belgian Biodiversity Platform.

9 | TANGO1 Antarctic expedition completed 

The TANGO1 expedition is one of the two consecutive expedtions based on the B121 concept (Danis et al. 2022). The first expedition was carried out this year, TANGO2 is planned to take place in 2024.

The expeditions take place on the 'Australis' vessel.

The expeditions will focus on several specific research priorities or targets as identified by SDG 13 (Climate action), SDG 14 (Life below water), SCAR and IPCC and as endorsed by Belgium by its commitment to the Antarctic Treaty and the Climate convention in Paris. The effects of climatic fluctuations on natural polar ecosystems remain poorly understood and the unravelling of these processes represents one of the research priorities identified by these global agreements. As climatic changes are prominent and intensifying in polar regions, dramatic shifts in structure and function of ecosystems may take place and will be difficult, if not impossible, to reverse. 

Read more on the website of TANGO.

For more information, please contact Leendert Plaetinck, Communication Officer for the Belgian Biodiversity Platform

10 | Join the BiodivClim Knowledge Hub at the ECCA 2023

Attend the session of the BiodivClim Knowledge Hub session at the 6th European Climate Change Adaptation Conference 2023 (ECCA) on 20 June 2023! The session “Nature-based solutions for climate adaptation” will take place at 16:30, local time (Dublin, Ireland).
Sign up for ECCA 2023 now! Find out more about the BiodivClim Knowledge Hub that was launched by Biodiversa+ in February 2023.

11 | New Biodiversa+ report released on biodiversity monitoring data

Discover the Biodiversa+ report of the use of biodiversity monitoring data in private decision making! This report is based on the outcomes of a workshop gathering the perspectives from business, civil society and NGOs and their used needs for biodiversity monitoring data. This workshop was organised jointly with Biodiversa+ key collaborator EuropaBON.
Read the report now!

For more information, please contact Coralie Verhaegen, Communications Officer at Biodiversa+.
Every month we present interesting items in the news we have read and that are worth sharing! 
Belgium funds biodiversity conference in the Congo Basin
Belgium has been providing support to countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo in fulfilling their obligations under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and conducting biodiversity research. A notable event was a conference held in Kisangani, located in the Congo Basin. Protecting biodiversity is essential for forest conservation, as emphasized by Hilde Keunen from CEBioS. CEBioS works on the science-policy interface, connecting researchers and policymakers to facilitate informed policy decisions. Efforts are also underway to strengthen the Centre de Surveillance de la Biodiversité (CSB) in Kisangani and similar organizations in Burundi, with the goal of supporting policy through research. In order to promote collaboration and accessibility, a large international biodiversity conference was recently organized at the University of Kisangani, providing a platform for scientists from the Congo Basin and beyond to exchange knowledge and experiences.

Young scientist improving Biodiversity in Kortrijk
The city of Kortijk together with Students from Industrial Design Engineering UGent (Campus Kortijk) have developed a series of initiatives to improve biodiversity in the city. There are different aspects such as birdhouses, bio-based tiles and more. Check out there work here.

IUCN co-organising online event SOILGUARD
The International Union for Conservation of Nature, as a partner of the Horizon 2020 project SOILGUARD, is pleased to invite you to the event Soil biodiversity conservation: policy and practice at the EU Green Week 2023 on 6 June, 10:00-11:50 CEST, which will take place online.
The aim of this event is to share insights into the existing policies and initiatives that promote soil biodiversity conservation in the EU, as well as to discuss ways forward to support the transition towards healthy soils. For more information, please visit the project’s webpage here.
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‘Biodiversity Newsflash’ is published by the Belgian Biodiversity Platform, an initiative by the
Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO)