Meeting Stakeholders in Eger: Testing methods for mapping and assessment of ecosystems and their services in policy- & decision-making

The latest ESMERALDA Workshop took place from 19 to 22 March 2018 in Eger, Hungary and focused on testing the final version of the flexible ecosystem services (ES) mapping and assessment methodology in policy- and decision-making through real-world case studies.

Involving a larger variety of policy- and decision-making processes and actors, including businesses and citizens, coming from a range of geographical contexts, the Workshop was divided into ten sessions.

On day one, the participants coming from 22 EU member states, Israel and Norway, had the opportunity to receive an update on the final version of the ESMERALDA flexible methodology, including the concept, structure and contents of the "Final Guidance Documentation". The session was followed by a keynote speech on "Perspective on using ES mapping and assessment in the private sector", based on the experiences of the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund under the UNCCD in session two.

In sessions three to six, the meeting focused on three case studies from Hungary, Finland, and Sweden, which served as a basis to analyse how mapping and assessment of ES supports different phases of decision-making processes. The last session of day one was a panel discussion involving stakeholders in an overall review of the ESMERALDA methodology and products.

Day two was dedicated to a field excursion to the Bükk National Park, which is a protected area since 1976, to safeguard the rich fauna and flora, as well as to protect geological and cultural heritage and various ecosystem services of the area.

Finally, day three and the last three sessions within the Workshop concentrated on finalising the different ESMERALDA products and Deliverables. Participants actively discussed further actions after the completion of the project, such as maintaining the stakeholder network and products in the future.