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ECOSAFIMED project took part in the first European Land Stewardship Conference

Monday, 10 November, 2014

The scientific co-ordinator for the ECOSAFIMED project, David Díaz Viñolas, took part in the first European Land Stewardship Conference, held in Barcelona on 6 November to promote this conservation strategy.
In his speech, Dr Díaz Viñolas emphasised the opportunity provided by the ECOSAFIMED project, co-ordinated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and the Environment through the Biodiversity Foundation, to apply stewardship principles to the marine environment. The main aim of this project is to make recommendations based on scientific criteria to the parties concerned and the relevant authorities to protect benthic communities.
Dr Díaz stressed the importance of establishing agreements with the appropriate parties to ensure a successful stewardship, working with effective agreements and focusing on areas and initiatives with the greatest conservation potential.
In his speech, Dr Díaz explained the various problems that hinder the success of marine stewardship, such as formalising mandatory agreements, the complexity of obtaining the consensus of all parties, the number of interest groups that exist and the lack of ownership of the marine environment. This last point is particularly sensitive, as it encourages anyone to use it altruistically.
Finally, he explained that the first steps toward success for marine stewardship are establishing clear proposals for specific actions for marine conservation, obtaining scientific evidence to corroborate the proposal, securing joint participation in developing activities, evaluating the probable proposals, and providing scientific evidence that agreements will result in benefits in the short and long term.
The conference also discussed a range of other issues, such as the principles of river and wetland stewardship, the financial instruments available and socio-political questions relating to stewardship, such as ecological restoration and the emergence of a global movement for soil conservation. Other more specific issues included improving pastures through stewardship agreements, and the keys to success for stewardship projects funded by public administration (mainly from the EU).
The conference was attended by various sectors that are particularly relevant to stewardship, such as crop farmers and livestock farmers, hunters working in social game preserves and a range of companies involved in mining and other activities. Various public administrations also attended the conference, as they are becoming increasingly involved in land stewardship.
To read the speech given by Dr Díaz Viñolas, click here.