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Throughout the world, Nature Based Solutions are gaining ground over traditional engineering solutions for the reduction of flood risks. But a lot can still go wrong in the implementation stage. That is why the World Bank and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) work together with EcoShape and Deltares to develop 7 principles for Nature Based Solutions that initiators can follow for a well thought out design. In April 2017 around 50 international experts met in Delft to work on the 7 principles.

Implementation can be a challenge

Worldwide, Nature Based Solutions can create additional benefits for residents, nature and ultimately the economy. But when implementing natural solutions, a lot can go wrong. Initiators do not always properly map the natural system, local stakeholders are not always involved or the functioning of the chosen solution is not monitored properly.

Practical guidelines

Bregje van Wesenbeeck, expert ecosystems at Deltares: "We want to offer practically applicable guidelines and process steps that allow initiators to choose suitable natural solutions. It is already a huge step that organizations such as UNDP and World Bank are willing to use these principles for their projects. It means that countries that receive support from these organizations are being put on the right track from the start of their project."

It is already a huge step that organizations such as UNDP and World Bank are willing to use these principles for their projects.

Bregje van Wesenbeeck, Deltares

Brenden Jongman, specialist risks and disasters at the World Bank's Global Facility for Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery adds: “Natural disasters disproportionally affect the poorest people. Nature-Based Solutions can be effective in reducing the impact of disasters while offering benefits to communities and the environment. However, the implementation of such solutions requires an analytical and holistic approach, which we aim to define with the 7 principles.”

Online platform

The 7 principles will be published on an online project platform together with examples of successfully implemented projects. The partners agreed that they will make every effort to apply the principles in their projects and to further expand the project platform together in the coming year. The platform and the 7 principles are expected to launch in September 2017.