9 November 2021, 14.30-16.30 - Room 8 – Palais de l’Europe

Sponsored by the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe

interpretation: FR/EN

For centuries, humans have extracted and exploited natural resources for the benefit of our social and economic development. Deforestation, land degradation and water pollution have accompanied human intervention, destroying important habitats and contributing to the decline in plant and animal species.

Now, when it is recognised that biodiversity loss and climate change are mutually reinforcing, and constitute equally a threat to human existence, what can we do to reverse the damage done to nature and to ourselves? How can the experience of local communities answer this question? Should we mainstream or scale-up local knowledge into national or international conservation efforts? And what could be done to increase opportunities for citizens to participate in decision-making processes in regards to nature protection?

Lab 7 - Better together: Engaging communities for nature conservation and protection

Full screen: ENFR / ORIGINAL

Room 8 – Palais de l’Europe 9 November 2021, 14.30-16.30
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initiative 1

Burren Programme (BP), Ireland

The Burren Programme (BP) encourages, supports and rewards Burren farmers for delivering ecosystem services on their land. With a focus on conserving the Burren’s biodiversity, water quality and cultural heritage, the BP (currently working with 320 farmers on 23,000ha of priority EU habitat) carries out annual assessments of the environmental health of each field (of 1700) in the programme and rewards farmers accordingly – land in better condition receives higher payments. Participating farmers also have access to a ‘fund’ for conservation works designed to improve their environmental performance and payments. The farmers are supported by a locally based office and by trained advisors. As well as clear, fair financial incentives, the BP allows farmers greater freedom to farm and to innovate, reduced bureaucratic burdens and new opportunities for economic and social engagement.




Manager, Burren Programme


Brendan Dunford is manager of www.burrenprogramme.com which employs an innovative results-based payment system to incentivise farmers to improve local biodiversity, water quality and landscape, delivering consistent social, economic and environmental gains since 2010. Brendan is a founder of www.burrenbeo.com –a leading advocate for place-based learning and community stewardship in Ireland – and a founder of www.farmingfornature.ie which aims to acknowledge, celebrate and support farmers across Europe who work to protect nature. In 2011 he became an Ashoka Fellow and in 2018 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for his work in championing biodiversity.

initiative 2

Participatory Establishment of Emerald Network, Georgia

Emerald Network is a pan-European ecological network with the goal to preserve the biodiversity of Europe. The Network was established as part of the implementation process of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern, 1979). The work involveS planning of the Emerald sites/Network and the gathering of scientific data needed for the planning process. For this purpose the Emerald Network group of experts was established as a group of scientific consultants at NACRES. The members of the expert group came from different scientific, academic and non-governmental institutions and comprised of best available experts within the country. In 2017-2019, forty-six sites were officially designated as Emerald Sites on the mutual initiative of the Georgian Government and NACRES, marking the first precedent in the Caucasus region.




Project coordinator, Emerald Network


Dr. Artsivadze has been involved in environmental activities for about 25 years, working at Centre for Biodiversity Conservation and Research (NACRES), a leading Georgian NGO. Apart from lecturing at major Georgian universities, he has been involved in numerous projects aimed at biodiversity conservation, improving the management of protected areas  and sustainable use of forests and pastures. During 2009-2016, Kakha coordinated the joint program of the Council of Europe, Ministry of Environmental Protection of Georgia and NACRES, aimed at the establishment of “The Emerald Network” in Georgia, as well as numerous other related project since 2016.

initiative 3

The Global Wildland Fire Network: A contribution of civil society to build sustainable and fire-resilient societies and landscapes, Germany

The Global Wildland Fire Network with its 14 regional networks is a voluntary network that provides advice for the development of informed fire management policies, and science and technology transfer to enable nations and international organizations to reduce the negative impacts of landscape fires on the environment and humanity; advance the knowledge and application of the ecologically and environmentally benign role of natural fire in fire-dependent ecosystems, and sustainable application of fire in land-use systems.


GOLDAMMER Johann Georg

Johann Georg GOLDAMMER

Director, Global Fire Monitoring Center


Johann Georg Goldammer is Director of the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) and serves as senior scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry and professor for fire ecology at Freiburg University, Germany. The GFMC is provider of a Voluntary Commitment for the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. In Europe, the GMFC is serving as a Specialized Euro-Mediterranean Centre under the European and Mediterranean Major Hazards Agreement and supports the Wildfire Disaster Risk Reduction agenda of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).


Discussants are invited to take part in the Labs in order to share their experience with the presented democratic initiatives and try to bring broader perspectives to the following discussions.



Second Vice-Chairperson of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development of the PACE (SOC)


Edite Estrela (Portugal, SOC) is a member of the Portuguese Parliament and the Second Vice-Chairperson of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). She is Rapporteur on “The climate crisis and the rule of law” and on “Combating inequalities in the right to a safe, healthy and clean environment”. She is also Vice-President of the Portuguese Parliament.



Founder of the Transition movement

United Kingdom



President of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe



Master's student in international relations, Sciences PO, Strasbourg, France