The projects in practice
Eight `pilot projects´ have been initiated by OEMN at different locations throughout Europe. Each uses the OEMN approach, has created new and unique partnerships between different sets of people, and uses innovative mechanisms to provide benefits to all partners. Partners include big businesses, extractive industries, local entrepreneurs, farmers, foresters, politicians, and of course, nature.
The OEMN team works with staff from national WWF offices and other NGOs to plan and implement pilot projects -- these have now become showcases and living examples of how OEMN can and does work.
At the same time, some locations are more ahead than others. One lesson learned is that change can be slow, and sometimes it takes years before actual results come in. But who would expect that changing perceptions and behaviours, or restoring environments that have been damaged over centuries of misuse, to be fast? Once the changes have been made, patient investments can lead to benefits for all for decades, if not for centuries, to come.
The eight pilot projects (explained in full detail in the following pages) are:
1. Coto Doñana, Spain: Switching supermarket and consumer demand for winter strawberries to those cultivated on legal lands using legal, and more efficient, water sources and in locations which do not provide physical obstacles to migratory species.
2. Maramures, Romania: Bringing in cattle to graze in a natural way on mountain meadows, resulting in enhanced grasslands biodiversity and high quality, healthy, landscape-supportive beef for sale.
3. Tisza Floodplains, Hungary: Using local natural resources in a way previously overlooked, such as turning invasive plant species into biomass and biofuel to generate electricity, while tying the purchase contracts of the power station to investments into floodplain grassland and forest restoration.
4. Ardennes, Belgium: Restoring farming plots in the Ardennes Mountains to wetlands through various financial mechanisms, to minimize flood impacts in downstream Belgium and the Netherlands.
5. Gelderse Poort, Netherlands: Partnering with a brick-making company to remove clay from former floodplains, restoring natural floodplains, reducing negative flood impacts, creating space for nature and guaranteeing raw materials for industry.
6. Prespa, Greece: Creating a new, cross-border, `National Park´ market brand for beans and other food products according to production criteria which minimise the impact of agriculture on the lake ecosystems of a World Heritage wetland area shared by three countries.
7. Sinca Noua, Romania: Stimulating a “sustainable village” development path through the joint work of the local mayor and a new eco-business, while utilising and protecting the valuable biodiversity of a remote Carpathian village.
8. Väinameri, Estonia: Transforming the local economy towards interlinked green beef production, tourism, and handicrafts sectors and thereby conserving and enhancing coastal grasslands biodiversity on small Baltic islands.