Antonio Troya is Director of the IUCN Center for the Mediterranean Cooperation. He answers the Tour du Valat’s questions about Nature-based solutions as a tool to adapt to climate change impacts (read the article), while the international Workshop « Implementation of Nature Based Solutions to tackle climate change: Focus on the Mediterranean region » will take in Marseilles, France, from 22 to 24 January 2019 (more info).
Climate change threatens ecosystems, people and economies at a growing pace. According to you, what are the benefits of nature-based solutions (NbS) to resolve them in the Mediterranean region, in comparison with « classical » infrastructure-based solutions?
Nature-based solutions (NbS) can be easily adapted to some of the current societal challenges in the Mediterranean region such as mitigating the impacts of weather and climate change on ecosystems and urban areas (floods, coastal erosion, carbon sequestration). NbS serve as an umbrella concept for multiples solutions, that often have their origins in “classical” infrastructural solutions, but are adapted to serve both environment and human benefit in a sustainable way. NbS also tend to be more cost efficient and stable in the long-term.
The Mediterranean basin is particularly concerned with global changes, with many of the changes stemming from increased coastal population density. Climate change scenarios are also very alarming for the region. Within this context, do you think that NbS are more adapted, in comparison to other regions?
The Mediterranean region is facing huge demographic, climatic and structural challenges mainly due to population growth and climate change. Adapting to climate change is a key issue for any sectoral policy in the Mediterranean region. We need to move to a more preventive approach and adaptive management of risks and resources over the long-term. NbS in the Mediterranean region must take into account the different possible scenarios in order to be able to adapt to the potential conditions in the territory. It is important to consider the population living near the coast line and the relevant economic sectors, such as tourism. The key to successful and sustainable conservation is to have an integrated and adaptive management approach of coastal areas.
There have been different NbS already been developed in the Mediterranean region including the Camargue former saltworks restoration project in southern France. Do you think that the political dynamics are favorable to NbS in the region?
The northern Mediterranean countries have a common framework for conservation politics led by the European Union which is promoting NbS and green infrastructures policies at research and project levels. However, it is necessary to create a common space for discussion to bring the southern countries into this dynamic. This will allow more sites to participate and improve their capacity to implement projects at a landscape scale in the region. The joint efforts of several regional organizations working within the framework of the Barcelona Convention help to promote this approach.