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In today's Morning Brief:

JRC calls for mapping of untouched forests in Europe

About 4.9 million hectares of the EU forests are ‘primary’ or ‘old-growth’, according to a new JRC report. These are forests that follow natural dynamics, exist in their original condition and are largely untouched by human interference. This report contributes to the EU commitment made in the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2030 to define, map, monitor and strictly protect all the EU’s remaining primary and old-growth forests. It is a compilation of existing mapping exercises by various researchers and organisations, and statistical information reported by the Member States. The report shows that there is a need for more robust and up-to-date mapping of primary and old-growth forests in order to better protect them. It finds a significant ‘mapping deficit’ in some of the EU’s regions, where the location of these forests is not known. This unmapped area amounts to around 4.4 million hectares, which is a total area bigger than the size of the Netherlands. See full press release here.

Pact for research & innovation in Europe

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on a new pact for European research and innovation, in a bid to convince member states to sign up to a renewed commitment to increase investment in R&D and mainstream key principles and initiatives in national R&I policies. In this way, the ‘pact’ will set out the key commonly agreed values & principles that underpin the European Research Area, and areas where EU countries will develop priority actions. It includes:

  • freedom of scientific research
  • boosting our economies & societies
  • gender equality
  • open access to scientific publications
  • better career prospects for researchers.

Key messages on energy during the World Climate Summit

The European commissioner for energy, Kadri Simson, said on Thursday (22 April) that member states should take advantage of the European Union’s historic €1.8 trillion budget and recovery fund to invest in energy efficiency and President Ursula von der Leyen said that Europe will apply its emissions trading scheme to buildings and transport.

Open consultation on genetically modified soybean

The Commission has opened a public consultation on the genetically modified soybean GMB 151. The GMO panel of the European Food Safety Authority has already ruled that soybean GMB151 is as safe as its conventional counterpart and the tested non‐GM soybean reference varieties with respect to potential effects on human and animal health and the environment, and therefore concluded that it can be safely used as food and feed. It is possible to submit scientific comments on the EFSA Scientific Opinion here, until May 22. Due to very high public scrutiny and sensitivity of the matter of GMOs in public debates, the Commission has a long decision-making process for the approval of GMOs for cultivation and for food and feed: an overview can be found here.

Webinar “One Hour With Europe”

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology will host a webinar on Tuesday 4th of May, regarding the new EU strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change and the upcoming “Fit for 55” Energy and Climate Package. The keynote speaker at this event will be Clara De La Torre – Deputy Director General of DG CLIMA in the European Commission. Registration is available here.

 

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MEPs call for binding measures to protect Europe’s forests || The future of CBDC: new EUBOF report on the possible structures of the digital euro

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