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Biodiversity loss and enhancing ecosystem services in urban and peri-urban areas
Horizon Europe - Cluster 6 - Destination 1: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
date - 2nd stage
Estimated EU contribution per project
Link to the call
Link to the submission
Cities with their peri-urban areas have a vital role in protecting and enhancing nature and nature contribution to people in urban areas across EU, such as health, well-being, and climate resilience. They are also key in delivering global and EU biodiversity objectives and policies, as recognised both in the ‘post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) Draft 1’ and in the ‘EU biodiversity strategy for 2030‘, as well as in the proposal for a nature restoration law which sets targets for urban and peri-urban ecosystems.
Cities are at the same time pledging for a recognition of their pivotal role(s) in delivering an ambitious GBF, with more than 200 sub-national authorities having signed the Edinburgh Declaration: as decision makers and regulators for land-use and urban development through their statutory role in spatial planning; as land and infrastructure (grey and green) owner, manager or shareholders, such as brownfields and public spaces, including natural and protected areas; as co- initiators and co-funders of local green initiatives, from urban gardening to depaving doorsteps and to the implementation of large-scale NBS.
There is however a lack of knowledge and know-how on:
- how to assess ecosystem condition and services in urban and peri-urban areas, and their contribution to the challenges of the cities,
- how to best plan and prioritise the protection, renaturing, and reconnecting of the NBS and green and blue infrastructure so as to optimise the ecosystem services and address the policy priorities of the city while ‘leaving no one behind’ as stressed by the European Green deal (e.g., promote urban and regional resilience, while addressing spatial justice to avoid increased inequality),
- how to combine, connect and manage different re-naturing actions and interventions and the scales of these actions- from an individual intervention to an urban and functional urban area in order to minimise the trade-offs and disservices and optimise the benefits in a cost effective and efficient manner.
The successful proposal should:
- Building on the work of Horizon 2020 projects and their task forces, take stock of the state the existing urban and peri-urban ecosystems and their services and identify direct (urban development pressure etc.) and indirect drivers of loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services at local level (policy, spatial regulations, financial incentives, land management practices, etc.);
- Develop a replicable methodology for cities and urban areas across Europe to co-design pathways, a shared long-term vision, an integrated strategy with policies and an action plan (e.g., with responsibilities, timeline and financing) towards the urban ecosystem restoration targets as formulated in the Commission proposal for a nature restoration law;
- Include in the methodology the necessary mapping and assessment methods, economic and co-creation governance models to co-develop and prioritise
- combination of cost effective and efficient solutions that will enable to co-implement the strategy and to co-monitor the delivery;
- innovative solutions and governance models to integrate systematically the strategies in the public, private and people decision making processes, such as public procurement, transport and climate policies, spatial regulations, land management decision, market incentives, etc;
- innovative financing and business models;
- Co-develop and test the methodology in a representative sample of cities across EU with local stakeholders from the whole society that will enable the uptake of the models and tools developed across EU and EU regions, thus supporting EU territorial cohesion;
- Engage in the testing cities different departments of local authorities, local research and technical organisations, big urban/ land managers or users, including farmers, citizen, including vulnerable groups, SMEs such as nature-based enterprises, etc. Citizen science approach could be used for this purpose;
- Identify the skills and building capacity needs at the local and regional levels, the potential for job creation as well as existing capacity building programmes, with an eye at the inclusion of marginalised communities and at the gender dimension;
- Propose how urban greening plans and spatial planning, including regulations and building code, can act as enablers of the development of NBS market;
- Disseminate outcomes and capacity building activities across EU, connecting with the relevant platforms such as recommended in the EU guidance for urban greening plans, as well as with the “Cities with nature platform”;
Proposals should also:
- Build on existing methods and data from the Urban Greening Plan guidance and toolbox, including JRC MAES urban, EPSON studies, EEA data on green infrastructure;
- Build on the outcomes of the relevant EU-funded projects of the Horizon 2020 and LIFE Programmes, including further testing and developing of the EU Impact Evaluation Framework for NBS and similar highly relevant protocols and guidelines;
- Envisage clustering activities with the relevant Horizon 2020 NBS projects and respective task forces as well as with relevant Horizon Europe projects and relevant successful projects resulting from calls of the EU Missions “Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities” and “Adaptation to Climate Change”;
- The use of social science and humanities methods and of social innovation is encouraged to encounter also different perceptions, values, experiences, practices, and social production across all stages of urban planning and to contribute to the empowerment of citizens.
In line with the European Green Deal, in particular with the objectives of the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 and the EU proposal for a nature restoration law, projects will contribute to the following impact: “to mainstream biodiversity, ecosystem services and natural capital in the society and economy”.
They should address all of the following outcomes:
- Better implementation and delivery of the EU proposal for a nature restoration law and the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030, particularly through new resources and knowledge to support the deployment across EU of urban (and peri-urban) greening plans;
- Increased capacity and skills in cities to work ‘at the right scale’ of the challenge and across policies, measures, strategies, including spatial planning capacity, so as to help deliver and assess the urban greening plans, green infrastructure strategies and more widely transformative change towards more sustainable and resilient cities to implement the EU climate adaptation strategy;
- Better understanding on how and under which conditions spatial planning can help optimise the ecosystem services of the solutions, strategies and actions, such as ecosystem restoration/creation and connectivity, Nature-based Solutions (NBS), blue and green infrastructure while addressing social equity and spatial justice aspects; operating this new knowledge into new pathways and methodologies;
- New tools and solutions for better integration of nature-based objectives in investments in infrastructure and other urban systems as well as better investment cases for renaturing the urban and peri-urban areas and maintain NBS in the long-term thanks to new and innovative governance and finance models;
- Better understanding on how to manage the tension between biodiversity protection, urban development pressure and fair access to nature for the urban citizen, identifying the relevant scale and timeframe while considering the long-term impact of spatial planning strategies;
- New approaches, tools and good practices for decision-making processes supporting municipal planning structures in co-creation of policies and plans for NBS through the lens of social equity and environmental fairness.
Regions / countries for funding
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Armenia (Հայաստան), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina / Босна и Херцеговина), Faeroes (Føroyar / Færøerne), Georgia (საქართველო), Island (Ísland), Israel (ישראל / إِسْرَائِيل), Kosovo (Kosova/Kosovë / Косово), Montenegro (Црна Гора), Morocco (المغرب), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Tunisia (تونس /Tūnis), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна), United Kingdom
EU Body, Education and training institution, International organization, Natural Person, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
To be eligible for funding, applicants must be established in one of the following countries:
- the Member States of the European Union, including their outermost regions
- the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) linked to the Member States
- third countries associated to Horizon Europe - see list of particpating countries
Only legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes, as beneficiaries, three legal entities independent from each other and each established in a different country as follows:
- at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State; and
- at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
Any legal entity, regardless of its place of establishment, including legal entities from non-associated third countries or international organisations (including international European research organisations) is eligible to participate (whether it is eligible for funding or not), provided that the conditions laid down in the Horizon Europe Regulation have been met, along with any other conditions laid down in the specific call topic.
A ‘legal entity’ means any natural or legal person created and recognised as such under national law, EU law or international law, which has legal personality and which may, acting in its own name, exercise rights and be subject to obligations, or an entity without legal personality.
- Affiliated entities — Affiliated entities (i.e. entities with a legal or capital link to a beneficiary which participate in the action with similar rights and obligations to the beneficiaries, but which do not sign the grant agreement and therefore do not become beneficiaries themselves) are allowed, if they are eligible for participation and funding.
- Associated partners — Associated partners (i.e. entities which participate in the action without signing the grant agreement, and without the right to charge costs or claim contributions) are allowed, subject to any conditions regarding associated partners set out in the specific call conditions.
- Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees to protect the EU’s financial interests equivalent to those offered by legal persons.
- EU bodies — Legal entities created under EU law including decentralised agencies may be part of the consortium, unless provided for otherwise in their basic act.
- Joint Research Centre (‘JRC’)— Where provided for in the specific call conditions, applicants may include in their proposals the possible contribution of the JRC but the JRC will not participate in the preparation and submission of the proposal. Applicants will indicate the contribution that the JRC could bring to the project based on the scope of the topic text. After the evaluation process, the JRC and the consortium selected for funding may come to an agreement on the specific terms of the participation of the JRC. If an agreement is found, the JRC may accede to the grant agreement as beneficiary requesting zero funding or participate as an associated partner, and would accede to the consortium as a member.
- Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members (e.g. European research infrastructure consortia (ERICs)) may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’. However, if the action is in practice implemented by the individual members, those members should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible.
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) may participate as member of the consortium selected for funding.
Relevance for EU Macro-Region
EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region
UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)
All proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funders & Tenders Portal electronic submission system (accessible via the topic page in the Search Funding & Tenders section). Paper submissions are NOT possible.
Proposals must be complete and contain all parts and mandatory annexes and supporting documents, e.g. plan for the exploitation and dissemination of the results including communication activities, etc.
The application form will have two parts:
- Part A (to be filled in directly online) contains administrative information about the applicant organisations (future coordinator and beneficiaries and affiliated entities), the summarised budget for the proposal and call-specific questions;
- Part B (to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system) contains the technical description of the project.
Annexes and supporting documents will be directly available in the submission system and must be uploaded as PDF files (or other formats allowed by the system).
The limit for a full application (Part B) is 45 pages.