Upscaling Building with Nature is vital for our future.
‘Upscaling Building with Nature is vital for our future’ said Cees Brandsen from Rijkswaterstaat in the opening speech at the conference on June 27. ‘If we wish to upscale these techniques then we need to reduce uncertainties associated with it. Rijkswaterstaat is confident that in close collaboration with our national and foreign friends, further development of Nature Based Solution knowledge base on technical, financial and governance level will hand us a set of tools that keeps the Netherlands adaptable and affordable to live in.’
With this firm statement made by the government authority responsible for water management in The Netherlands the EcoShape conference opened on 27 June. Around 250 professionals from engineering firms, dredging companies, knowledge institutions, government bodies and non-governmental organizations attended.
The morning program consisted of a number of external speakers, presenting Building with Nature from a project, financial, communication and government perspective.
Abdul Muhari of the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries presented the upscaling of the Building with Nature in Indonesia project, where brushwood dams are used to catch sediment to stimulate the growth of new mangrove. The Indonesian government is looking for a business model to make the regeneration and maintenance system of mangroves self-sustainable, by developing ecotourism and continued and improved community involvement.
Jane Madgwick of Wetlands International, as one of the keynote speakers, argued that there is an important role to be played by EcoShape when it comes to upscaling Building with Nature: ‘The EcoShape consortium could lead the way to move from pilots to investable projects, both national and international’ Jane Madgwick concluded.
EcoShape was glad to welcome two speakers from Italy. Chief Resilience Officer of Milan Piero Pelizzaro explained how his city is adapting to climate change. Journalist Marco Merola showed his initiative for a webdoc, aimed at creating awareness by the public about the need for adaptation by showing examples of how different countries are working on resilience.
Jeroen Rijke (pictured above), professor at the Hogeschool Arnhem Nijmegen held a keynote about Building with Nature in river environments. He explained how ensuring safety in the Dutch river delta can go hand in hand with nature development, as is the goal from the European Framework Directive for better ecological water quality. This creates a better living environment for flora and fauna as well as the people living in the area.
Colette Grosscurt of Actiam showed how investors use the Economic, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria to judge an investment opportunity. This is important for companies seeking funding for Building with Nature solutions.
Conference chair Stefan Aarninkhof (pictured below) closed the morning program, stating: ‘This morning made it clear to me that EcoShape and BwN have become much more international than at the time of the previous conference in 2015. The ambitions are very high, to have a world wide impact. It takes a lot of leadership to get us there. Whether it comes to communication, financing or influencing decision makers. That is a big challenge. I would suggest everyone to go beyond every horizon.’