Communication of first results
The workshop “Implementation of Nature-based Solutions to tackle climate change -focus on the Mediterranean region”, from January 22 to 24, 2019 in Marseille, made a significant contribution to clarifying concepts and knowledge exchanges about Nature-based Solutions (NbS). This was a unique opportunity to create new collaborations and raise awareness among decision-makers on the importance of NbS for effective adaptation to climate change.
The Tour du Valat, Wetlands International, MedWet, Plan Bleu, the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation, the French Committee of IUCN, and the Conservatoire du Littoral, with the support of the City of Marseille, jointly organized this workshop. It brought together more than 100 participants: researchers, managers, policy-makers, students and members of civil society from ten countries to discuss the Mediterranean strategy for implementing NbS for climate change adaptation and mitigation using nature’s capacities.
During these three days, participants attended many presentations and engaged in discussions on topics such as the advantages of implementing NbS and how to assess their benefits compared to traditional “grey” infrastructures. Participants presented the results of many NbS case studies from Europe and the Mediterranean basin, some of which included the restoration of riverbeds in a regional context in the Alps and urban greening models in the Mediterranean basin, such as the one in Barcelona. We discussed how research and stakeholder engagement are essential for the success of NbS (i.e., the Wetlands International network and BiodivERsA methods), but also focused on the strategies and financial instruments available to implement these NbS. All presentations, photos and drawings can be consulted on the Plan Bleu website here.
During the second day of the workshop, participants travelled together to the Camargue, which offered an opportunity for them to see firsthand a site that is highly vulnerable to sea level rise and to learn about the actions undertaken by the Conservatoire du Littoral, the Regional Nature Park of the Camargue, the Tour du Valat, and the Société Nationale pour la Protection de la Nature to adapt to these changes. The managers of the Camargue’s former saltworks project explained how the restoration, based on the principles of NbS, contributes to the adaptation of the Rhône Delta to sea level rise – the project implements a coastal zone management strategy (re-establishment of a resilient, connected and functional wetland) that acts as a protective buffer zone against floods. The scientific monitoring carried out on this site shows encouraging trends, in particular an improvement in the ecological status of part of the coastal lagoons (see the publication on NbS in the Camargue). This strategy helps to reduce investments in protective infrastructure and maintenance costs related to flood risk management in the Camargue.
Here are some of the conclusions of the workshop:
- NbS are effective measures for climate change adaptation and mitigation.
- A diversity of ecosystems can be considered: wetlands, forests, coastal and marine ecosystems, agro-ecosystems and urban systems.
- It is important to develop and validate the criteria for evaluating NbS (IUCN has defined NbS standards that are currently being tested).
- It is essential to continue to exchange knowledge on how NbS can be implemented (potential barriers, involvement of local communities, combinations of ecological restoration and grey infrastructure, and possible funding).
The results of the workshop will be used to produce a policy paper for decision-makers, in particular for the next meeting of the Barcelona Convention (Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution), and to develop preparatory documents to build a strong Mediterranean presence at the World Conservation Congress of IUCN to be organized in June 2020 in the City of Marseille.
Check out the following websites:
Tour du Valat website: http://tourduvalat.org
Plan Bleu website: http://planbleu.org
Marc Thibault, Lorena Segura