Major step in worldwide application of nature-based solutions and flood mitigation

Published: 29 March 2017

Throughout the world, nature-based solutions are gaining ground over traditional engineering solutions for the reduction of flood risks. When implemented properly, they generate additional benefits for local residents, nature and, ultimately, the economy. But a lot can still go wrong in the implementation stage. For example, the natural systems in place in the area may not be taken into account adequately, or local authorities and communities may not be sufficiently involved in planning.

Opting for natural solutions is still a difficult decision

The measurement and monitoring of natural solutions are still not yet conducted using the standards that apply to ‘hard’ solutions such as dams and dikes. So decision-making about natural solutions, even in conjunction with existing infrastructure, continues to be difficult. Technically, socially and economically.

Guidelines for working with natural solutions

Deltares, the World Bank, UNDP, GFDRR and Ecoshape will be meeting in Delft on 11 and 12 April to develop a shared vision of implementation and to set out guidelines for working with natural solutions.
Bregje van Wesenbeeck (ecosystems expert): ‘Our main aim is to provide tips and procedures that are easy to use and that help to select the best natural solutions and implement building with nature. The fact that organisations like UNDP and the World Bank are prepared to use those guidelines on their projects in the future is an enormous step in itself. Countries that receive support from these organisations will at least be put on the right track.’

Brenden Jongman, disaster risk management specialist at GFDRR, World Bank: ‘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 in this workshop’.

Agreeing on guidelines and extending the project platform

The outcome of the meeting will be an agreement in principle that the organisations will do everything in their power in the next year to apply the guidelines in their projects and that the project platform set up by Deltares and the World Bank with help from all the partners will be extended. In addition to the guidelines, past projects with natural solutions can also be found on the platform.