Scaling regional partnerships at the National and European levels

By Abad Chabbi and Margaux Dillon, AnaEE

Research infrastructures depend on a favorable institutional context, insofar as they strive to develop concepts and tools for the greater societal good, but also because its mission statement depends so greatly on accessing policy-makers and funding. As a result, transnational and transdisciplinary organizations the likes of AnaEE keep tabs on political activity, in an effort to anticipate possible impacts on their operations.

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union was not a vote against climate change, or sciences and innovation. However, in the broader context of the UK historically leading the global consultation on climate change, this tends to jeopardize the fragile cross-party consensus on climate change.

Another partner in AnaEE’s Preparatory Phase, Spain, has only recently emerged from a prolonged political impasse. According to the European Commission, Spain is one of the most robust economies in the euro-zone. More flexibility in the economic system would likely enable Spain to integrate medium to long-term environmental risk management strategies and ultimately allocate funds for experimental ecosystems research.

Hay bales in field

Both examples highlight a need even greater than anticipated for governments and corporations to collaborate in creating an alternative regulatory environment and meet the climate change related challenges of modern societies. As COP22 (Marrakech) aims to roll out and strengthen the Paris Agreements, the public-private conversation they generated now requires global scaling but also a local dissemination, based on transparent stakeholder negotiations. AnaEE, as a pan-European Research Infrastructure, strongly believes in its capacity to deliver unifying solutions, in the form of predictive scenarios targeted at policy-makers and industrial partnerships to develop innovative solutions to climate change.

Given this institutional context, AnaEE hopes to share a best practice in the form of approaching Seville to make the case for a crucial mobilization in the Mediterranean. Andalusia boasts an active network of public universities conducting ecosystems research, a notable and biodiverse portion of its territory under protection and the regional business community has thoroughly invested in the bio-economy. Public officials proved keen to prepare for the Mediterranean region to be the first to face the onslaught of climate change-related impacts. Having identified an under-representation of such ecosystems amongst pre-selected national platforms at the core of AnaEE’s research capacity, we are studying all possibilities for Seville to act as a test-bed in accelerating climate change policy-making from the Spanish central government and at the European level – most notably in conjunction with similar efforts in Italy and Turkey.

Indeed, responses to climate change coordinated at the regional level would likely allow for the duplication of innovative designs and technologies in territories facing similar challenges. Inspired by the concept of action coalitions developed during COP 22, AnaEE will pursue ongoing efforts to join coalitions by leveraging the pan-European nature of the infrastructure. Finally, AnaEE might consider approaching the consultancies often underlying cross-industry coalitions as promising venues for its research expertise, vision for innovative solutions and future advisory services.

Abad Chabbi AnaEE Coordinator
Margaux Dillon AnaEE Lobbying Office

Analysis and Experimentation on Ecosystems