Responding to the EU Green Deal, the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 and the farm to fork Strategy, a successful proposal will restore pollinator-habitats, support the development of pollinator-friendly policies, business models and market conditions, by helping to establish sustainable, productive, climate-neutral and resilient farming systems by minimising pressure on ecosystems, delivering a wide range of ecosystem services, improving public health and generating fair economic returns for farmers. Projects should address all of the following outcomes:
- Agricultural landscapes that are dominated by intensively managed crops and grasslands, are restored through co-designed (with farmers and other land managers, local communities, agricultural advisory services, landscape planners, the nature conservation sector etc.) large-scale, experimental pollinator-friendly practices and services and through social innovation processes, such as new innovative approaches to enhance community participatory planning and innovative business models.
- Management, restoration, conservation and connectivity of wild pollinator habitats follow scientific and policy recommendations, which have been tested in the projects on their applicability. The range of recommendations in question is set in the Assessment Report on Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production of IPBES and the updated Plan of Action of the international initiative on the conservation and sustainable use of pollinators.
- Systemic approaches provide an effective enabling environment for stakeholder actions. They demonstrate that coherent and comprehensive policies for the conservation and sustainable use of pollinators at various governance levels can be demonstrated at least at landscape scale. , and contributing to foster sustainable agricultural practices while ensuring farming viability and profitability, for different agricultural sectors.
- Improved coordination in governance, as well as enhanced data accessibility, financing and maintenance agreements for actions beneficial for pollinators are achieved
- Adaptive management of measures for the conservation and sustainable use of pollinators is informed by continuous monitoring and assessing of the outcomes, including by using results-based payment schemes.
This topic aims at maintaining and restoring species-rich pollinator communities and their services in agricultural landscapes dominated by intensive land use, and facilitating the uptake of pollinator-friendly practices at wider scale.
The direct and indirect drivers of pollinator decline are cross-cutting in nature .This calls for the need to ensure policy coherence and to integrate pollinator and pollination considerations not only in policy measures that support the transition towards more sustainable agricultural practices, but also across sectors (for example forestry, consumption and health) and at different spatial scales (farm, landscape, ecosystem).
Despite efforts, many of the main direct drivers of pollinator loss have remained largely unchanged over the years: habitat fragmentation and land use change, the widespread use of synthetic chemicals in agriculture and in other sectors, invasive alien species, and pathogens (in case of managed pollinators). In particular, great attention has been focused on drivers linked to intensive agricultural practices, such as monoculture, and the use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides that can have direct and indirect effects on pollinators. In addition, the increasing negative impact on pollinator habitats of other direct drivers, such as climate change, have exacerbated the problem.
This topic aims at restoring and maintaining species-rich pollinator communities and their services in agricultural landscapes characterised by intensive farming practices, and facilitating the uptake of pollinator-friendly practices in the agricultural sector at a wide scale, in different pedo-climatic conditions across Europe. The proposed projects should emphasise mainstreaming pollination concerns into policies, developing and implementing measures on the ground to support the conservation and sustainable use of pollinators, addressing risks, and building capacity. In doing this, they should involve all relevant stakeholders along the agri-food chain and share knowledge on multiple levels to integrate pollination considerations into farming, land use and other management decisions, focusing collaborative research on emerging issues and prevailing needs.
The proposed projects should build on existing experience in particular on lessons learned and best practices gained through EU-funded projects and initiatives such as those supported by Horizon 2020, Results-Based Payment Scheme projects, the LIFE programme, and prepare the uptake of approaches developed and tested in this topic into future EU-funded activities (such as LIFE, the common agricultural policy, Horizon Europe). The proposals should show how their results may contribute to the EU Pollinators Initiative, feed into relevant IPBES functions, and ensure cooperation with the Convention on Biological Diversity. Coordination with the two following topics should be envisaged: ‘HORIZON-CL6-2022-BIODIV-01-10: Cooperation with the Convention on Biological Diversity’ and ‘HORIZON-CL6-2021-BIODIV-01-20: Support to processes triggered by IPBES and IPCC’.
Projects are expected to secure additional funding or in-kind contributions when implementing restoration actions.
Proposals should include specific tasks and envisage sufficient resources to develop joint deliverables (e.g. activities, workshops, as well as joint communication and dissemination) with all projects funded under this topic for aspects of horizontal nature and for cooperation with other projects such as BiodivERsA, Oppla, the EC Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity, relevant H2020 projects such as SHOWCASE and HORIZON-CL6-2021-CLIMATE-01-08: ‘Agroforestry to meet climate, biodiversity and farming sustainability goals’. Actions should use existing platforms and information sharing mechanisms relevant for pollinators and the restoration of their habitats. Furthermore, cooperation is expected with the European partnership on biodiversity and with the Science Service (HORIZON-CL6-2021-BIODIV-01-19: A mechanism for science to inform implementation, monitoring, review and ratcheting up the new EU biodiversity strategy (‘Science Service’), and with other large-scale initiatives under Horizon Europe, such as the candidate partnership on agroecology, living labs, research infrastructures and the proposed mission ‘Caring for soils is caring for life’.
The proposals should address all of the following points:
- Demonstrate measures to diversify large-scale farming systems and the resulting feeding resources and habitats of pollinators in agricultural lands, grasslands and semi-natural areas, through agro-ecological practices, including organic farming and agroforestry, as well as through home gardens, and forestry systems where relevant to the restored landscapes, with a view to ensure heterogeneous habitats formed by native species that offer diversified floral and nesting resources for pollinators;
- Create set-asides for nature, such as uncultivated patches of vegetation, to enhance floral diversity, and to ensure native, diverse, abundant and continuous floral resources for pollinator across time and space;
The two points mentioned above combined should cover at least 50% of the proposed budget.
- Analyse and evaluate different options to protect and conserve threatened pollinator species as well as their natural environment, and elaborate the requirements to promote recognition of pollinator-friendly practices and consequences on pollination functions and services in existing certification schemes; and develop methods for the inclusion of pollinator conservation into ecosystem restoration frameworks (in particular on grassland and other agro-ecosystems).
- Develop prototypes of potential extension services, farmer-to-farmer sharing approaches and farmer field schools to strengthen synergies between scientific evidence, traditional knowledge, conservation and farmer-researcher community practices, to exchange knowledge and provide hands-on education and empowerment of local farming communities on pollinators. This could include for instancefostering networks for exchanges of native seeds
- Elaborate, based on the large-scale approach, how the promotion of coherent policies across sectors and issues (e.g. biodiversity, agriculture and food security, chemicals and pollution, reduction of inequality, climate change and disaster risk reduction) could look like for pollinators. This scalability plan should be developed with the involvement of the communities concerned, and should include the dissemination of innovative solutions and practices, and a process for commitments in adopting large-scale restoration of pollinator communities within governance and financing systems, to allow replication and upscaling across the EU, associated countries and internationally. It should seek guarantees for the non-reversibility and/or continuity of restoration activities and/or further replication and/or expansion, implementation of sustainable management practices and monitoring after the end of the projects.
- Assess and propose options to develop and implement innovative incentives, consistent with international obligations, for farmers and other actors along the agri-food chain, to encourage the adoption of pollinator-friendly practices (e.g. carbon sequestration measures that increase pollinator habitats; conservation of uncultivated areas for pollinator forage; communication to consumers and other actors on the benefits of pollinator-friendly practices, etc). This should also cover assessing the impacts on farmers’ income, on overall business performance of farms, as well as on social aspects in farming communities.
- Build on existing knowledge, developed inter alia by EU-funded research projects, to assess options to remove or reduce incentives that are harmful to pollinators and their habitats (e.g. pesticides subsidies; incentives for pesticide use as credit requirements from banks), and to promote alternative approaches to pesticide use (e.g. Integrated Pest Management), taking into consideration the needs of farmers, gardeners, land managers, indigenous people, local communities and other stakeholders;
- Design and test a system to monitor the effectiveness of the large-scale interventions, taking into consideration the scale-dependent aspects of protecting pollinators and managing pollination functions and services, using standard methods in line with the proposal for an EU Pollinator Monitoring Scheme, and contribute to their improvement.
The proposals should develop scientifically robust and transparent methodologies, building on achievements from previous research activities. To ensure trustworthiness, swift and wide adoption by user communities, and to support EU and national (including from associated countries) policy-makers, actions should adopt high standards of transparency and openness, going beyond documentation of results and extending to aspects such as assumptions, models and data quality during the projects life.
Applicants are reminded that costs for land purchase or lease are not eligible costs in the context of activities of research and innovation or innovation projects.
EOSC and FAIR data
Social sciences and humanities
“Restoration” is based on CBD guidance on ecosystem restoration, and in line with the EU 2030 biodiversity strategy whose Restoration Plan aims to help bring diverse and resilient nature back to all landscapes and ecosystems. On experience of the LIFE programme, see i.a. https://ec.europa.eu/easme/sites/easme-site/files/restoration_of_intens…
IPBES (2018) https://ipbes.net/assessment-reports/pollinators
As adopted in CBD/COP/DEC/14/6..
Based on and/or informing the EU Pollinators Initiative, the Knowledge Centre for Biodiversity, BISE, and further projects and initiatives of EU importance and globally such as SC5-32-2020: Addressing wild pollinators decline and its effects on biodiversity and ecosystem services, or EcoStack, POSHBEE, B-GOOD and IPMWORKS, EIP-AGRI, the Focus Group on Bee Health and Sustainable Bee Keeping https://ec.europa.eu/eip/agriculture/en/focus-groups/bee-health-and-sus…
In cooperation with e.g. Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe calls on Integrated Pest Management