On 24, 25 and 26 September 2019 the European Commission organised the EU Research and Innovation Days in Brussels. The event gathered Europe’s best researchers, scientists, innovators and policy makers.
It was a high-level Policy Conference, an Innovative Europe Hub and the annual “Science is Wonderful” exhibition with aims to:
- bring together world leaders from industry, finance, academia and business to debate and shape the future research and innovation landscape;
- engage stakeholders to co-create and build the strategic priorities for the first 4 years of Horizon Europe;
- mobilise EU citizens and increase general awareness and understanding of how important research and innovation are in addressing societal challenges.
The session on Nature Based Solutions was organised on 26th September with the title “Let Nature be the Solution”. The main objectives of the session were to:
- Identify the main obstacles for further NBS implementation and market up-take/Investments;
- Link these with the needs of further support from Research and Innovation at the EU level – beginning to draw the priorities for the next Work Programme (timeline 2021-2022 and 2023-2024);
Philippe Tulkens, DHoU of DG RTD/C3, Climate Change and Planetary Boundaries, introduced the session by underlining the great momentum and outreach of NBS across the world, with a growing recognition by a broad variety of stakeholders and by the scientific panels of both Biodiversity and Climate Change.
Stewart Maginnis, IUCN, Global Director, Nature-based Solutions Group, illustrated what «makes a good NBS » and how NBS systematically bring benefits and changes through 3 case studies, in different contexts and combinations between grey and green.
Karen Sudmeier Rieux, UNEP, Senior Advisor, Disaster Risk Reduction, highlighted the role nature can have in the fight against natural hazards.
Zoran Vojinovic, RECONECT Project Director (in the picture), reflected on the presentations of Stewart and Karen and highlighted the need for further work on evidence-base and development of meaningful indicators that could assess performance of Nature Based Solutions in different settings and contexts including their mixed/hybrid configurations with grey infrastructures.
Ingrid Visseren-Hamakers, Assistant Professor at the Forest and Nature Conservation Policy Group at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, wrapped up the session.
Find more information on the European research and innovation days here.
There is also a video recording of this event here.
Zoran Vojinovic, RECONECT Project Director