MOVE project members meet at ULPGC

At this meeting, twenty experts from seven European Union countries will assess the progress made in this project, which aims to involve policy-makers, researchers and civil society in the development of various methodologies aimed at mapping and assessing the state of ecosystems in the ORs and OCTs

The Faculty of Marine Sciences of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (ULPGC) in Canary Islands, Spain, is hosting today and tomorrow the second meeting of the members of MOVE, an international project that aims to involve policy-makers, researchers and civil society in the development of various methodologies aimed at mapping and assessing the state of ecosystems in the Outermost Regions (ORs) and Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs).

This European Union (EU) project, which will run for 3 years and is coordinated by the Regional Fund for Science and Technology (FRCT) of the Regional Government of the Azores, involves the ULPGC through the Atlantic Biodiversity and Sustainability Association (ABAS) and the University Institute of Aquaculture and Sustainable Marine Ecosystems (IU-ECOAQUA).

The EU Biodiversity Strategy calls on Member States to map and assess the state of ecosystems and their services in their national territory, to support regional policies in overseas Europe by mobilising local actors and speeding up the pooling of resources.

At this MOVE meeting taking place in Gran Canaria, around twenty experts from seven European Union countries will assess the progress made by each of them in the project, which will run until 2021 and in which 14 organisations, most of them universities and research centres, are taking part.

The environmental values of Europe's Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories often go unnoticed, both locally and at European level. The 9 ORs are territories located at a great distance from continental Europe, although they are a substantial part of the Member States, while the 25 OCTs are characterised by their specific links with the respective EU countries.

All these European territories are unique cases. Most of them are islands scattered around the globe and have a particularly unique flora and fauna, accounting for 70% of Europe's biodiversity and 20% of the world's coral reefs and coastal lagoons. They include very diverse ecosystems, usually on a very small scale, coral reefs and mangroves, tropical rainforests and mountain ecosystems, or polar and sub-polar seas. They all provide multiple ecosystem services, of great local and global relevance.

MOVE involves a wide range of organizations. Spain is integrated with 3 universities: the ULPGC, the University of La Laguna and the Autonomous University of Madrid. France participates with 4 collaborating institutions: Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), Universite de La Réunion, Nova Blue Enviroment (NEB) and Centre de Coopération Internationale Recherche Agronomique pour le Developpement (CIRAD). Italy participates through the Universidad degli Studi di Trento, while the Netherlands participates with Wolfs Company and the Institute of Environmental Studies of the Faculty of Sciences of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. In addition, Germany is integrated into the project through Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universität Hannover (LUH) and the United Kingdom through the University of Porstmouth and the South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute (SAERI). Finally, the project coordinator is the Regional Fund for Science and Technology (FRCT) of the Regional Government of the Azores (Portugal).