Resilience, vulnerability, adaptation are some of the terms that were not much talked about until a decade ago, and which in recent years have emerged as key words in European environmental and climate change fora.
Similarly, for a couple of years now, a term that has been frequently repeated among people working in the environmental sector: nature-based measures (Nbs).
To be precise in its definition, we can draw on the Oxford University's Natural Based Solutions Initiative (formed by an international, interdisciplinary team of scientists from the natural and social sciences, which seeks to apply enquiry lines to shape the policy and practice of nature-based solutions through research, teaching and engagement with policy makers and practitioners), nature-based solutions involve working with nature to address society's challenges, delivering benefits for both human well-being and biodiversity. Specifically, these are actions involving the protection, restoration or management of natural and semi-natural ecosystems; the sustainable management of aquatic systems and farmland, as well as cropland or timberland; or the creation of new ecosystems in and around cities.
In other words, these are actions that build on biodiversity and are designed and implemented with the full engagement and consent of local communities to reduce or mitigate certain risks or challenges of various kinds.
Within the H2020 PHUSICOS project, aimed at directly demonstrating the interest of implementing nature-based measures to address natural and climate risks in European mountain areas, the CTP coordinates a series of pilot experiences, all of them accompanied by participatory processes with local stakeholders to better understand and adapt the required solutions. Specifically, in the development of the experiences in Espace Portalet, a first participatory session was organised with the presentation of different experiences and a reflection on the benefits and barriers that arise around these solutions in the cross-border territory of the Pyrenees. The main objective of the session was to deepen, together with the key actors of the territory, the concept of nature-based measures for the management and prevention of natural risks in this bioregion highly vulnerable to natural and climatic hazards.
The session also served to briefly present the PHUSICOS project and to promote the so-called Living Labs dynamics. With these participatory dynamics, we aim to incorporate different perspectives in the perception of the risks analysed and in the collaborative analysis of possible nature-based solutions to be implemented in the two pilot sites of the project in the Pyrenees: St. Elena and Artouste.
As the European Environment Agency states in its recently published report on such measures in Europe, working with nature can help prevent the worst impacts of climate change and the loss of biodiversity and key ecosystems, and they presented more than 90 case studies from across Europe. According to the report, science and policy have begun to recognise its potential. The knowledge base is expanding rapidly, although there are still some gaps in knowledge, especially in terms of quantifying the benefits, which is what the OPCC-CTP is working on through the PHUSICOS project.
The OPCC is committed to accompanying the application of this type of measures as part of the solution to ensure an ecological transition and respond to the climate challenge, transferring knowledge and experience to the rest of the Pyrenean territories.