Biocultural Diversity – A powerful tool in achieving EU sustainability goals
The workshop entitled Biocultural Diversity, a powerful tool in achieving EU sustainability goals was co-organised by Harghita County Council, hosted by Csaba Borboly (county council president and member of the European Committee of the Regions), and the Institute of Applied Sciences (Italy), represented by Dr Valeria Salvatori. Invited politicians, scientists and experts discussed the innovative potential brought by adopting biocultural diversity in European policies regarding regional development, rural development and nature. The workshop was moderated by Lóránt Vincze, MEP and honoured by the presence of the following speakers: Cor Lamers, president of the CoR ENVE Commission, András Demeter, senior expert at DG Environment (EC), Prof. Mauro Agnoletti (Chair of the Scientific Committee of the FAO Agricultural Heritage Systems Program), Prof. Tibor Hartel (Babeș-Bolyai University), Iuliu Winkler, MEP, László Demeter (County Head of National Agency for Protected Areas, Romania) and by László Csák PhD, expert on European rural development policies and energy affairs.
The justification of the subject’s importance is based on the fact that environment and biodiversity conservation is increasingly present in the sustainable development strategies and actions of the EU that recognise the intrinsic and instrumental values of biodiversity, and act towards halting the loss of biodiversity.
The rich natural capital of European regions' key importance in the economy and significantly contributes to the EU's sustainable development and biodiversity goals. There are multiple links between local communities and their land, the rich traditional ecological knowledge and environmentally friendly technologies. These elements are present all over Europe even nowadays, however they need more linkage and recognition at all levels of society.
The contribution of local communities, rural communities, needs to be better acknowledged and integrated into policies. Recoupling cultural identity of the regions with the ecosystems is essential.
While there is a growing international knowledge base on these issues throughout the concept of biocultural diversity, higher level decision making still lags behind as regards explicitly adopting the concept and the innovative approach that it encompasses. Therefore, our proposal is to start a process of integration of biocultural diversity with the full range of meanings into European policies from cultural to conservation and development.
Working with the concept would recognise the strong interdependence of cultural identity and biodiversity, providing a very powerful if not indispensable tool in achieving our sustainability goals.
Take away message
Cultural and biological diversity are strongly linked all over Europe and together form a unique identity for regions, and linking them more strongly has great potential for reaching the European Union's sustainability goals. However, a deeper understanding is needed, since traditional ecological knowledge is not included in rural development strategies and nature directives. We propose that the CoR take forward the links between man and nature through the concept of biocultural diversity, as an essential identity element.
Traditional knowledge and our rich environment have to be brought closer in order to capitalise on them and ensure their continuation. Biocultural diversity has to be taken into account whenever we are making decisions about agricultural innovation and rural development. Borboly Csaba, President of Harghita County Council, CoR member
The conservation of complex landscape patterns that reflect the identity of different regions, their historical management practices and related biological and cultural diversity needs to be ensured through integrated planning and management strategies, particularly in view of the need to adapt to global climate change. Prof. Mauro Agnoletti
We need to have a completely new approach to biodiversity. The policies need a local dimension, should take the ecosystems as a whole, and not to be fragmented alongside specific policy sectors. We need to ensure that we implement those policies more efficiently. Cor Lamers, president of ENVE Commission, CoR