On Tuesday July 6th, EcoShape hosted a webinar introducing their recently published White Paper: Integrated System-based Asset Management. ISBAM is the way forward in mainstreaming Nature-Based Solutions and working on a landscape scale. The webinar was an hour long and attracted an audience of multiple disciplines from around the world. Students and professionals alike interacted throughout the webinar with many questions towards both presenters and panelists.
The webinar was moderated by Sien Kok (Deltares) and was kicked off by two presentations about ISBAM from Luca Sittoni (EcoShape, Deltares) and Egon Baldal (Rijkswaterstaat). The second half of the webinar was comprised of a panel discussion on how to bring the ISBAM approach further. The panellists included Marlouke Durville (Rijkswaterstaat), Henk Nieboer (EcoShape) and Henk Ovink (Special Envoy for International Water Affairs, Kingdom of The Netherlands).
Interested in watching the webinar? Find it on our YouTube channel.
Quotes from Panel Discussion
What do you think ISBAM has to offer in terms of scaling up Building with Nature?
Henk Nieboer: “What ISBAM has to offer is the following: We work in various parts of the world and we are talking to many people nationally and internationally about how to implement Nature-based Solutions. Very often you find that many people are hesitant to apply it, especially asset managers – large institutions that we have created to manage our infrastructure. They are hesitant to apply them because they feel that Nature-based Solutions are uncertain in terms of long term behaviour of these solutions, which is understandable because it is nature, it is dynamic. What we were lacking so far was the semantic framework to deal with all the aspects and how to demonstrate to asset managers how to cope with the uncertainties or with the complication of dealing with other institutes. I see ISBAM as a promising concept to develop that semantic framework so that we can communicate about it, we can understand each other and we can make clear where the constraints are and where the opportunities are.”
Do you agree that there is a need for this different way of working in asset management?
Marlouke Durville: “What we have seen by the experiments we have done this far with Nature-based Solutions is that it has very appealing concepts and that we really can, for example, protect our coasts in a novel way. We have seen that in the project that many of you are probably aware of – the sand motor on the Dutch coast. We see that it is appealing and that it gives new opportunities, but we also see the challenges, like Henk already mentioned… how do we go to the next phase? How do we scale this up? I think it is a very smart road to try to integrate it into already existing ways of working, like asset management. What is really needed is pilots that help us effect finding, that we have pilots that help us in getting more information about the long term effects.”
Around the world you are involved in organizations like Rijkswaterstaat, do you see this type of asset management already happening? Or is there anywhere we can learn from?
Henk Ovink: “It is again very inspiring, ISBAM touches upon the challenges that we face. I think Marlouke touched on this, as well as Egon, we have innovative concepts, but to replicate and bring them to scale, let alone mainstream them in our asset management policies and regulations is very hard, but, I see many good examples that actually make me very optimistic.
Where? In the Gulf of Mexico, insurance companies take over restoration because they see it as an investment in renewing infrastructure that prevents losses. Capturing the value of those prevented losses, incorporating them into system thinking, is not so easy, but we depend on these institutions like Rijkswaterstaat or an insurance company or a consortium like EcoShape to do that. Same examples in Demak, where Henk Nieboer is of course very closely involved in with mangrove restoration, we indeed see not only a decreased risk, but an increased value in the context of biodiversity, but also the economics of the communities on that coast. The mangrove recovery is one, but the other is the conversion of degraded fish ponds into sedimentation vessels that can be recolonized by mangroves.
A third example, is in Chennai, India, where the business as usual model, again from a systems approach on water and climate, the risk is the cost of over 1.5 billion a year, with a massive CO2 footprint. Investing in Nature-based Solutions for a water balance approach, will reduce the costs on a yearly basis of 60%, with 80% savings in CO2. If you look at maintenance and operation, this is a massive reduction. We are able to capture these assets into models, but mainstreaming these types of capacities is of critical importance.
There are many great examples, the challenge is, they are complex, they demand a systems approach across all aspects of vulnerability and opportunity, but also across all stakeholders that come with that, that is not easy, but if done and institutionalized, it is the springboard for the change we seek. I really applaud the whole effort and look forward to the next steps and engaging other places and partners across the world and to find the opportunity to bring this to scale.”