Policy Roundtable: Upscaling Nature-Based Solutions in Italy

17 January 2020

On January 17, 2022, OPERANDUM organized a Policy Roundtable with over a dozen regional and national experts to address the uptake of Nature-based Solutions (NBS) for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in Italy. The event took place at University of Bologna and was live streamed to over 40 online attendees. The speakers shared their experiences in the co-creation and implementation of NBS based on the case study at the Open-Air Laboratory in Italy.

Roundtable discussions

During the workshop, experts from University of Bologna and local consortium partners, including Arpae, the Regional Agency for Prevention, Environment and Energy of Emilia-Romagna, and Italian consulting and engineering firm RINA-C, presented their role within OPERANDUM and ongoing work on NBS application in Italy and stressed the importance of replicating and upscaling tested solutions by considering the Open-Air Laboratory as a blueprint for other communities facing similar risks.  

The subsequent roundtable discussion addressed the potential of NBS in rural areas at national level. The panel included representatives of ISPRA, the Italian National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research, ItaliaMeteo, the Agency for meteorology and climatology, the Italian National Civil Protection Department and CIMA Research Foundation, the International Centre on Environmental Monitoring.

Regional NBS context

The following session, that focused on the regional NBS context, included representatives of the Emilia Romagna Region, the Po river Interregional Agencies (AIPO) and the territories that directly apply NBS such as the UNESCO Po Delta Biosphere Reserve (both of the Po Delta Veneto Regional Park and the Po Delta Emilia Romagna Regional Park) who shared their experiences and best practices.

The discussions highlighted important perspectives on the role of NBS within the policy landscape, highlighting the involvement of both regional and national key stakeholders and their interactions. The objective was to accelerate the adoption of NBS and offer an opportunity to reflect on the related challenges (resources, implementation costs, social acceptance, planning steps, time, flexibility).

Important and timely event

The event served as an important and timely occasion, particularly during the pandemic which caused a standstill in many sectors, for regional and national NBS experts to gather and exchange views on accelerating NBS uptake. The meeting led to the creation and expansion of a network of contacts in the academic, institutional, and operational sectors, with an interest in replicating and upscaling solutions that have been piloted within OPERANDUM, particularly through the Open-Air Laboratory in Italy. 

The event also provided an opportunity for stakeholders working on NBS to reduce hydrometeorological risk, to discuss methods and share ideas, best practices, and state-of-the-art solutions, with a view to future cooperation and collaboration. The meeting highlighted the fact that the current circumstances necessitate above all the need for knowledge sharing, education, and research to achieve sustainable development, human health, and resilient ecosystems in equilibrium with the community.

Technical workshop

Building on the event, OPERANDUM will organize a technical workshop for practitioners on the local application of NBS. In addition, outcomes of the discussions are supporting the development of a shared roadmap for the increased and sustainable uptake of NBS for DRR.