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MAES-related developments in France
The French national ecosystem assessment is called EFESE for "Evaluation française des écosystèmes et des services écosystémiques".
EFESE is a science-policy-society platform led by the Ministry for an Ecological and solidarity transition. It aims to facilitate the integration of biodiversity into decisions in France. This platform builds on a shared conceptual framework and national governance that brings together experts, policy makers and stakeholders. It covers all ecosystems in France, from terrestrial to marine, from metropolitan to ultramarine, from highly natural to artificial.
After a first phase, organised around the publication of an overall assessment of the six major French ecosystems, EFESE starts a second phase in 2019. The operational and strategic character of the EFESE will be strengthened in order to develop the evaluation tools needed to accompany the ecological transition of French society.
I) The preparatory phase
A preparatory phase of the program was launched in 2012. This phase laid the ground for the development a national governance and a conceptual frameworks which are being strengthened on a continuous and iterative basis.
The EFESE national governance framework aims to ensure relevance to decision-making, scientific credibility and legitimacy in the eyes of the evaluation stakeholders. It gathers a project team involving officers from different directorates of the Ministry in charge of the environment, a National stakeholder committee where stakeholders can express positions on the program orientations and approves the key messages obtained from each evaluation, and a Scientific advisory board that expresses positions on the scientific quality of evaluations and advises the project team in the conduct of the program.
The EFESE conceptual framework facilitates the collaboration of diverse communities and disciplines and the transfer into decision-making. This framework recognizes the multiplicity of biodiversity values and facilitates the development of relevant tools to inform and support decisions in full transparency and in association with stakeholders. It also allows a broad identification of levers of action, which goes beyond the control of direct pressures on biodiversity, to give full scope to actions targeting indirect factors and the development of environmental services.
II) The first phase (2014-2018): global syntheses
The first phase of EFESE (2012-2018) resulted in the publication of six overall assessments covering all French ecosystems (forest, wetlands, urban, agro-ecosystems, mountains and marine ecosystems) as well as several assessments targeted on specific issues (crop pollination, carbon sequestration, coastal erosion control, etc.). These evaluations provide an overview of the available knowledge. They bring together elements that can already be mobilized to inform decision-making, but they also reveal the extent of knowledge and data gaps and the need for further focused studies. A final report is being developed. It will conclude this first phase and prepare the second phase of the program.
III) The second phase: focusing on strategic and operational issues
The program starts a second phase whose focus will be:
- in the short term, to shed light on burning issues and to develop decision support tools in the context of pilot experiments conducted in partnership with relevant actors;
- in the longer term, to pursue the strengthening of evaluation capacities, e.g. for socio-economic assessments or ecosystem accounting.
IV) To know more
For additional information go to the program webpage (in French).
EFESE also has its own social network that allows to interact with the community involved in ecosystem assessments in France (free registration and access here).