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RECONECT- Regenarating ECOsystems with Nature-based solutions for hydro-meteorological risk rEduCTion

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - RECONECT (RECONECT- Regenarating ECOsystems with Nature-based solutions for hydro-meteorological risk rEduCTion)

Reporting period: 2018-09-01 to 2020-02-29

Regenerating ECOsystems with Nature-Based solutions for hydro-meteorological risk rEduCTion (RECONECT) is a five year project which combines 35 international leading partners. The main goal in RECONECT is to contribute to European and international reference frameworks on Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) by demonstrating, referencing and upscaling large-scale NBS and by stimulating a new culture for 'land use planning' that links the reduction of hydro-meteorological risks (floods, storm surges, landslides and droughts) with local and regional development objectives in a sustainable way.
RECONECT adopts the holistic ecosystem-based concept. It is based on the premise that our ability to adapt to extreme hydro-meteorological events in a sustainable way depends on the co-evolutionary nonlinear interaction between the ever changing social, economic and cultural requirements and technical developments on one side, and natural processes on the other.
In order to contribute effectively to the development of reference frameworks on NBS and to generate higher impacts across Europe and internationally, RECONECT draws upon a network of demonstration sites (Demonstrators A and B) and collaboration sites (Collaborators). The idea is that Demonstrators serve as ‘living laboratories’ of NBS for monitoring and evaluation in relation to hydro-meteorological risk reduction covering different climatic and local contexts. The knowledge and experiences generated through the demonstrated NBS will form a basis for European and International Collaborators to learn and apply some of these novel concepts in their own cases. Furthermore, RECONECT aims to produce the necessary frameworks and tools that can support more effective planning, financing, modelling, monitoring, evaluation, design, operation and maintenance of NBS projects.
The methodological framework of RECONECT follows a road map containing three groups of interrelated components (i.e. work packages, deliverables and impacts), where the first two groups are designed to ensure that the project achieves its desired immediate and long-term impacts (i.e. third group). In order to achieve the desired impacts the project activities have been structured over seven Work Packages (WPs), each addressing different aspects of the NBS upscaling strategy; from providing the necessary scientific, policy and practical base for the NBS implementation and transfer (WP1) via the ground work in demonstration sites (WP2), followed by the monitoring and evaluation of demonstrated NBS measures (WP3) overcoming barriers, upscaling and synergies with Collaborators (WP4), consolidation of evidence base, exploitation and standardization (WP5), to communication and dissemination (WP6) and project management and coordination (WP7), all of them delivering a particular set of deliverables.
In addition to the activities on co-creation, demonstration, and upscaling of NBS, RECONECT will also develop educational products and organize public events to share the gained knowledge and disseminate project results.
With focus on developing the holistic ecosystem-based framework in RECONECT, WP1 performed an analysis of existing frameworks and a preliminary list of gaps was identified. The scientific state-of-the-art, implementation practice and policy landscape was reviewed, and methods for the social innovation approach described. Besides, the RECONECT Lead User Method Approach was developed.
In WP2, a baseline assessment and scoping of works of Demonstrators was completed and the necessary preparatory actions for the co-implementation of the NBS in Demonstrators A undertaken. Stakeholder mapping activities were carried out and first steps were undertaken to identify potential social, cultural and political barriers in the NBS demonstration sites. The twinning potential between the NBS cases was assessed and the first structure of the Demonstrators’ twinning process was established.
The RECONECT monitoring and evaluation approach was developed in WP3. A key achievement in this period was the establishment of the ICT platform TeleControlNet (TCN). TCN is being connected with monitoring equipment in the NBS sites. In addition, deployment of innovative methods for monitoring and evaluation has been promoted and discussed with Demonstrators. In relation to validation activities, the current key stakeholders perceptions related to NBS have been surveyed, analysed and the key barriers identified.
WP4 is operationalizing the RECONECT’s Social Innovation Approach throughout its activities. A thorough stakeholder mapping exercise in Collaborators was undertaken. WP4 started a Demand and Supply Analysis of knowledge and capacity needs in collaboration sites, which will be used to connect and advance the twinning activities between Collaborators and Demonstrators.
WP5 has started a market exploration in order to develop RECONECT spinoffs based on partners and lessons learnt in the project. At this stage, the market exploration considered the interest study of environmental DNA, wetlands and flooding tools in the development of NBS implementation. Other market exploration was started for the concept of aquatic drones and the Water Detective App (a crowdsourcing app).
WP6 launched the RECONECT website (www.reconect.eu). Communication and dissemination activities have advanced knowledge on NBS across different target stakeholders and audience. This required the development of a visual identity guide for the project. WP6 also facilitated the link with other EU projects (UNALAB, OPERANDUM, PHUSICOS) through a series of joint activities. In WP6, activities were carried out to also foster innovation in hydro-meteorological risk mitigation practices.
WP7 is concerned with the management of the project. During this reporting period one amendment to the Grant Agreement was completed. WP7 is continuously facilitating the collaboration and communication between the different RECONECT partners to ensure, amongst others, the progress of the different tasks, the scientific relevance of the project, financial viability, and gender equality, in compliance with the EC principles and regulations.
RECONECT addresses innovation, going beyond the state-of-the-art in terms of NBS co-creation processes, and those frameworks, models and tools needed to support them.
The RECONECT Social Innovation Approach has been developed to guide the exploration, production and implementation of innovative solutions for hydro-meteorological risk reduction while pursuing stakeholder involvement throughout the NBS co-creation process.
The holistic ecosystem-based framework being developed enables to study interactions between hydro-meteorological events and sociotechnical activities and to assess the effects of institutional policies, cultural contexts and land management practices on the effectiveness of NBS under different circumstances and conditions. It also enables to study interdependencies between sociotechnical activities to analyse the drivers for demand and supply for NBS and business models for their replication and upscaling. Finally, the co-evaluation framework developed in RECONECT enables comprehensive co-monitoring and evaluation of NBS against water, nature and people challenges. Innovative technologies and tools, such as the RECONECT ICT Platform, are being developed in support to the co-creation processes.
RECONECT General Assembly Nice September 2019 - Consortium Photo