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Green Infrastructure Network (GreenInfraNet)
Start date: Dec 31, 2011, End date: Dec 30, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Biodiversity conservation policies have traditionally been developed and implemented within the nature conservation sector, and local and regional authorities are mainly responsible for implementing the policies and achieving their objectives. However, this presents the authorities with a range of challenges:– many other land uses are increasing in extent and intensity– much of the biodiversity outside Natura 2000 sites is subject to less strict or no formal protection– conserving biodiversity in the long term requires the maintenance of ecosystem functions over wide areas– climate change will lead to shifts in species populations, but the locations of existing protected areas are fixed.Responding to these challenges has inspired the development of new approaches that aim to conserve biodiversity and maintain ecosystem services across the wider countryside but which are framed in close cooperation with other policy measures, such as agriculture, urban development, transport, re-creation and climate change adaptation. These approaches are becoming known as “green infrastructure”. The concept has also been recognised by the European Commission, which has organised 2 meetings on the topic and is now developing a green infrastructure strategy (due 2011).In order to learn from and apply this experience, a team of 12 partners has been formed: Flevoland Province (NL), Barcelona Province (ES), Fingal County (IE), Plovdiv Regional Development Agency (BG), Azores Regional Government (PT), Nicosia Development Agency (CY), Emilia-Romagna Region (IT), Ghajnsielem Municipality (MT), Valencia Region (ES), the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (HU), the MEPRD (LV) and Stara Zagora Regional Economic Development Agency (BG).The project’s main objective is to strengthen the development and implementation of green infrastructure in EU regions. This will be achieved through exchanging and disseminating expertise, experience andbest practices between the partners, tackling both general elements (analytical methodologies and policy development and implementation) and its development and implementation in 4 specific fields (in urbanised areas, in natural areas, in relation to rural land uses and to adapt to climate change). In addition, 3 types of best practice will be transferred to 6 partners (analytical methodologies, developing and implementing green infrastructure in urbanised regions and developing and implementing green infrastructure policies). The activities will produce a Green Infrastructure Action Toolkit for wider dissemination.The durability of the results will be ensured through the best practices transferred, actions agreed in 12 implementation plans and the establishment of a permanent facility for the exchange, dissemination and transfer of experience, expertise and best practices between green infrastructure stakeholders across Europe: the European Green Infrastructure Knowledge Network. Achievements: The GreenInfraNet project was launched in Lelystad, the Netherlands, on May 25, 2012. During this kick-off meeting, the project partners shared their experiences on green infrastructure in their regions and presented their expectations from the project. An external expert presented the progress of green infrastructure in Europe. The Lead partner also organized a study visit to the Oostvaardersplassen, a Natura 2000 site in the province of Flevoland. During this study visit, the project partners could learn from the experience of Flevoland with the maintenance of ecosystem services in the region. The main purpose of the GreenInfraNet project is to strengthen the development and implementation of green infrastructure in EU regions, as a new approach to conserve nature for future generations. The aim of this new approach is to conserve biodiversity and maintain ecosystem services across the wider countryside, in the framework of close cooperation with other policy measures in the fields of agriculture, urban development, transport, recreation and climate change adaptation. The partner regions will work together to develop the Green Infrastructure Action Toolkit, which can be used for the wider dissemination of project results across Europe. Each partner will develop an implementation plan for the development and/or implementation of green infrastructure and will organise workshops, study visits and dissemination events. All these activities will be part of the action toolkit. The exchange and dissemination of expertise, experience and best practices among the partners will be at the heart of the project. The key challenge of the project is how to make regions learn from each other. All regions have different experiences with the development and/or implementation of green infrastructure. Some regions are in the phase of exploring the needs for green infrastructure, others are making plans to develop the concept and some regions are looking for expertise and experience to get from the development of green infrastructure to its implementation. By learning from one another, the partnership can work on a new nature policy across Europe.
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