The Third Vice-President of the Spanish Government and Minister for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (MITECO, the Spanish acronym), Teresa Ribera, visited CREAF intending to know the centre and its scientific activity.
The visit was an opportunity to consolidate a space for conversation between the research carried out by CREAF and the political sphere. It was also an opportunity to explain to her the various lines of research at the centre and to explore how they can influence decision-making related to environmental policies. The meeting was attended by Joan Pino, CREAF’s Director, and some CREAF researchers representing different expertise, such as ecology, forests, biodiversity, soil restoration, water management, agriculture and global change.
The Minister agreed with CREAF staff on the need to create and implement ambitious policies on environmental issues. In particular, she highlighted the need to better understand the functioning of soils and move towards their restoration, for example, using regenerative agriculture. She also emphasised the deployment of nature-based solutions to recover ecosystems, a field in which CREAF has a vast experience through projects such as The Green Link, among others. Teresa Ribera also agreed on the importance of giving more voice to the scientific community in emergency situations, such as the one caused by the Storm Gloria. Regarding this cyclone, researcher Annelies Broekman named some of the lessons learned in relation to subsequent political action.
In order to strengthen the link between science and political decision-making, the minister highlighted the need to create methodologies and tools that facilitate it. As a good example, she pointed to the IPCC’s periodic reports, which she considered essential tools for providing useful information and solutions. In this sense, she was able to meet one of their authors, Jofre Carnicer, who was also present at the visit.
During the visit, the importance of raising public awareness through actions such as citizen science was also highlighted, a field in which CREAF has a long track record with projects such as Mosquito Alert, Alerta Forestal, RitmeNatura and uBMS.
According to Joan Pino, “at CREAF, we are working to promote innovation in governance, i.e. we provide tools to integrate our scientific results in decision-making. The next step is to make the research generated by the centre particularly relevant for promoting climate change awareness, adaptation and mitigation policies, and to increase our social impact”.