The kick-off meeting of the Italian hub for Nature-based Solutions (NbS), established within the framework of the EU NetworkNature project, has recently taken place in Rome at the headquarters of the National Research Council (CNR).
The initiative is the result of the development and dissemination activities carried out over the years by the CNR together with universities and local administrations.
The national hub is led by the CNR’s Research Institute on Terrestrial Ecosystems. Its main function will be to collect and disseminate key information on the opportunities offered by nature-based solutions. This term, adopted by the European Commission, refers to the sustainable management and use of natural resources to address the major environmental, societal, climate and economic challenges we are facing today.
First of all, NetworkNature’s Italian hub will collect calls for proposals, guidelines, metrics, regulations, reference frameworks and national strategies on the subject, in order to share them with local actors. At the same time, it will work as a “sound box” for local initiatives, acting as the link between the national stakeholders involved. The ultimate goal is to promote international, regional and local cooperation among stakeholders, fostering capacity building and key knowledge exchange in order to facilitate the implementation of green infrastructure and blue growth, thus optimizing resources related to environmental sustainability.
“There is a real need for this kind of infrastructure,” explained Chiara Baldacchini, associate professor at the University of Tuscia and member of the project’s coordination team, “because, despite the high participation of both research institutions and large cities such as Turin, Milan, Bologna and Palermo in European Commission-funded projects on the topic, Italy still has a long way to go in terms of including the concept of NbS in national policies. Also, our territory has specific bioclimatic characteristics and biodiversity hotspots that are not found in other national contexts. This requires developing new knowledge to be able to identify innovative methodologies and specific metrics for evaluating the benefits of NbS that are representative of the Italian context, so that we can then develop the most effective solutions, especially in terms of mitigation of and resilience to climate change to which our territory is particularly vulnerable,” the professor concluded.