Online conference strengthens transboundary collaboration on coastal protection

Building with Nature in coastal engineering stands for nature based approaches. In particular in a changing world with complex climate change effects, the role of nature based and adaptive solutions for coastal protection measures is gaining momentum – also in the Wadden Sea. Making coasts, estuaries and catchments of the North Sea Region more adaptable and resilient to the effects of climate change is the main objective of the Interreg VB North Sea region project Building with Nature (BwN). On 4 June 2020, together with its sister projects FAIR and C5a, Building with Nature organized an online conference “Be adaptive to become resilient”. The conference marked the closure of FAIR and served as a recalibration point for the ongoing projects BwN and C5a. Together the project partners laid the foundation for continuation and development of close collaboration with our partners in European programmes.

The conference was opened by Michèle Blom, Director General of Rijkswaterstaat, and moderated by Egon Baldal (Project manager BwN and C5a) and  Bart Vonk  (Project manager FAIR). About 200 participants, among them Julia A. Busch, Programme Officer at the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat (CWSS), joined keynote speeches of Ms Kerstin Brunnström, President of the CPMR North Sea Commission, and Steve Mathies, the Global practice leader on Coastal Restorations at Stantec, as well as online workshops around climate change adaptation A visual report of the conference displays the multi-faceted outcomes of the conference:

Visual report of the conference. RWS.

Building with Nature provides a new way of thinking and tools to adapt assets to climate change replicating nature’s manner of solving problems. Many case studies in BwN are situated at the Wadden Sea Coast. Performance monitoring of sand nourishments, amongst others along the islands of Sylt and Langeoog in Germany, and Ameland in the Netherlands provide a scientific evidence base for nature based solutions to reduce coastal erosion and flood risk.  

CWSS is partner in this project and provides a link to the trilateral Expert Group Climate Change Adaptation (EG-C) and its trilateral Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (CCAS). Enhancing resilience is the core of this CCAS with seven strategic objectives and guiding principles. As evidence base for best practices, CWSS has recently published a Climate Change Adaptation Information Platform, which contains documentation of  trilateral policy and management, best practices, monitoring and assessment and activities in communication and education in the framework of the Interreg project Building with Nature. The platform has been filled with local, national and international information by EG-C members and it already provided background information for the CCAS Monitoring Report.