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Network for nature: multi-stakeholder dialogue platform to promote nature-based solutions

Nature-based solutions (NBS) deliver multiple ecosystem services to address diverse societal challenges with a systemic and innovative approach. An effective multi-stakeholder platform is needed to support and consolidate the understanding of NBS and to promote their use and speed up market up-take and wider implementation.

Such a platform enables: a) dialogue, interactions, knowledge and information sharing; b) integration of EU project results and platforms; and c) collaboration and think-and-do-tanks among relevant stakeholders (science, public administration, professional organizations, businesses and investors, civil society).

NetworkNature[[https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/887396/.]], a CSA funded under Horizon 2020’s Societal Challenge 5 (WP 2019) that is due to end in 2022, is in the process of creating this platform. The Oppla[[https://oppla.eu/.]] portal is developing the underlying EU NBS knowledge repository, supporting access, sharing NBS knowledge more widely, including from EU-funded NBS projects, to already engaged and new target audiences, such as the finance and investment sector and the wider public.

This topic aims to maintain and build upon the achievements of NetworkNature and Oppla. The successful proposal should further develop and consolidate an engaged, broad and effective European community of innovators, practitioners and developers to promote the design, deployment, out- and up-scaling of NBS at the European and global scale, while recognising regional and national specificities, contexts and needs.

The successful proposal should undertake continuous and strategically driven stakeholder dialogue and facilitate sharing of practice, experience and expertise related to all NBS-relevant aspects, across multiple scales and sectors. Actions should cover social, economic, financial, environmental, educational, institutional, regulatory and cultural aspects; in particular:

  • Improve engagement, strengthened ties and new partnerships with public authorities, the private and financing sector and society at large to implement and invest in NBS, based on a high level of awareness about their advantages in order to widen the uptake of these solutions;
  • Maintain and further develop an online open source stakeholder platform that facilitates the interactions within and between NBS knowledge holders and implementers;
  • Identify, evaluate, standardise and gather tools, mechanisms and advisory services that support different actors in NBS in a one-stop-shop, aiming at supplying offers to match the needs which are brought forward;
  • Build on NetworkNature's business plan, to make such a platform financially self-sustainable by the end of the project, and emphasise payback models and payable advisory services;
  • Maintain and support established NBS hubs and establish new ones; support and advise on communication and outreach campaigns and regular events in all Member States, involving international networks and environmental communicators and targeting all relevant stakeholders involved in the NBS value chain, including the scientific community;
  • Develop a ready-to-use communication toolbox in all EU official languages for regional and local authorities to better communicate about NBS and their benefits, namely in terms of economic growth and job creation;
  • Facilitate the clustering of current and upcoming EU-funded NBS relevant research and innovation projects and promote the uptake of their results in further EU or national initiatives (e.g. in projects resulting from the LIFE programme or cohesion policy);
  • Assist the Commission in organising science-policy workshops and assessing the contribution of NBS to global and EU policies, notably related to the EU Green Deal. These include biodiversity, pollution, climate adaptation and mitigation, water, agriculture and forestry, as well as urban and regional development, health, transformative change and just transitions;
  • Facilitate the development of guidelines for practitioners with state-of-the-art NBS design practices and protocols; Collaborate with CEN/CENELEC to develop European standards, making sure these guidelines are accessible to all users;
  • Help to the develop and mainstream NBS-related professional training and include it in primary, secondary and higher-education curricula[[Synergies should be considered with HORIZON-CL6-2021-COMMUNITIES-01-06: Inside and outside: educational innovation with nature-based solutions.]];
  • Develop mechanisms for capacity building and knowledge sharing across disciplines, the involving EU and MS/AC-wide professional organisations. Include partner organisations across EU Member States to ease dissemination of NBS knowledge at local and Europe-wide level ;
  • Promote international cooperation with key strategic partners and sharing best practice, in particular with – but not limited to –Latin American and Caribbean countries, the USA and Africa;
  • Support a dialogue between cities implementing NBS (e.g. through twinning, peer exchanges, etc.) to encourage NBS knowledge sharing, experience exchange and access to best practices in the Member States; and establish links with other networking initiatives such as ICLEI, or the Covenant of Mayors;
  • Further develop and maintain existing databases of facts and figures on NBS cost-effectiveness, including in monetised form, and according to NBS typology and challenges addressed by NBS, for improved communication and outreach;
  • Identify specific areas and priorities where further research and innovation and educational development are needed to more widely implement, exploit benefits and market acceptance of NBS.

The proposals must address all of the above points and should ensure that all evidence and information will be accessible through the Oppla portal (the EU repository for NBS)[[https://oppla.eu/.]].

Applicants should create links with projects under the same topic and other relevant ongoing or up-coming projects, notably the Horizon 2020 NBS project portfolio and its task forces; ‘HORIZON-CL6-2021-BIODIV-01-05: The economics of nature-based solutions: cost-benefit analysis, market development and funding’; ‘HORIZON-CL6-2021-BIODIV-01-06: Nature-based solutions, prevention and reduction of risks and the insurance sector’; ‘HORIZON-CL6-2022-COMMUNITIES-01-05: Assessing the socio-politics of nature-based solutions for more inclusive and resilient communities’; ‘HORIZON-CL6-2022-COMMUNITIES-02-02-two-stage: Developing nature-based therapy for health and well-being’; ‘HORIZON-CL6-2021-COMMUNITIES-01-06: Inside and outside: educational innovation with nature-based solutions’. To this end, proposals should include specific tasks and sufficient resources for coordination measures, envisage joint activities and joint deliverables.

Collaboration with the Biodiversity Partnership (HORIZON-CL6-2021-BIODIV-02-01) is expected in the context of strengthening the knowledge base for assessing, developing and deploying nature-based solutions.

This topic should involve the effective contribution of social sciences and humanities disciplines.