The euPOLIS experts participated in the two-day NetworkNature event dedicated to Upscaling Nature-based solutions in policy and practice. The first day of the event was dedicated to the opportunity to learn more about the state-of-the-art developments in NBS practice & policy and was held in person. The second day was part of the European Research and Innovation Days 2022 and was held online.

Emmanuel Sardis at the pulpit

On September 27th, the event tackled Nature-based solutions (NBS), assuming that if designed and implemented well, can produce a multitude of benefits simultaneously, including for health and wellbeing, agriculture, water, food and energy production, climate change, economic development, and more. Mainstreaming these solutions through agreed (quality) standards and best practices can help maximize the impact and uptake of nature-based solutions.

The event focused on the Network Nature semester theme “Nature-based solutions and Standards”, to ensure the quality, effectiveness, and scale of implementation that helps deliver the European Green Deal and the challenges related to biodiversity, climate change, and socio-economic development.

NetworkNature invited the nature-based solutions community and other interested stakeholders from all target groups, including policymakers, scientific experts, civil society as well as investors and financing institutions, infrastructure planners and builders, landowners, and natural resource managers to share and learn about the ways through which nature-based solutions can be upscaled, through policy and practice, how different sectors can contribute, and the role of standards.

The parallel sessions in the afternoon provided space for an interactive exchange on developing standard(s) around NBS, quality criteria, and best practices for integrating NBS more effectively in policy and practice. The sessions featured presentations, capacity building, and idea-sharing by the NBS community of practice, and built on the results of Horizon 2020 NBS projects, and involved the NetworkNature Stakeholder Advisory Board. The aim of these sessions was to learn about the latest developments and success stories in upscaling NBS in policy and practice and to identify opportunities for strengthened engagements and partnerships for NBS.

The event was held at the Museum of Natural Sciences of Brussels, Belgium, and was moderated by David Maddox, The Nature of Cities.

On Wednesday, September 28th based on NetworkNature agenda euPOLIS and Sister projects cluster were introduced; GoGreenRoutes ​, IN-HABIT, and VARCITIES focusing on the importance of clustering projects to ensure knowledge-sharing, capacity building, and idea-sharing as well as creating a community of practice. The panel is named “Tools of tools” from the H2020 and HE NBS projects. This panel is presented by INTERLACE and CONEXUS projects on the tools produced by different NBS projects.

Dr. Emmanuel Sardis presented the latest clustering activities from both projects that were focused on three pillars. The common technical cooperation between the projects for creating a set of ‘’Common Indicators’, a creation of a Manifesto about the common NBS solutions proposed and evaluated by the sister projects, and finally about their forthcoming dissemination activities.

During the panel presentation, the fourth project was asked related questions from other participants. It should be mentioned the remarks from CLEVERCITIES project representatives that requested further collaboration with euPOLIS and Sisters projects cluster for exchanging ideas from already or almost completed projects in NBS and transferring this knowledge to the newer projects.

From the panelists it was agreed that the EU and Task Forces should provide related mechanisms for enhancing this information passing from old projects to the new ones with the same aims and objectives, avoiding the ‘wheel re-invention.

Another important point that was risen from the talk was that neither of the participants knew about the Sister projects cluster’, nor about their activities. Network Nature event had an excellent impact and results for knowledge exchange and further presentation of EU projects.   

Already the team of the four Sister projects cluster returned from the Brussels event with a set of tasks that will be performed in forthcoming months and many challenges and invitations from participants and other EU projects there for further collaborations.