Nature knows best
Extreme weather, pollution, and degrading ecosystems. These are signs that humanity is overstepping the Earth's boundaries.
We support actions that soften and reverse these trends. For example, by tackling climate impacts through nature-based solutions and integrated water management. We also welcome innovative ideas to clean up air and water, restore ecosystem services, and help boost biodiversity.
Long-term positive impact is more likely to happen when local people are involved and buy into the solutions. This is why we support activities such as citizen science, volunteering, and social innovation.
Please note: The examples of themes and actions listed below are only indicative. If in doubt, please get in touch with us to clarify the best match for your project idea.
Global warming is already disrupting weather patterns in the North Sea Region. This is set to worsen in the coming years as global temperatures keep rising. Coming to terms with storm surges, rising sea levels, floods, droughts, and other climate impacts is critical for the continued wellbeing of the region's citizens.
We support actions that prepare authorities and communities for the risks coming down the line, preferably in ways that improve liveability and the environment at the same time.
Examples of themes in Specific Objective 3.1:
Flood resilience, including risk management ● Nature-based solutions in flood protection ● Blue-green infrastructure in flood protection ● Catchment management of groundwater and surface waters ● Ecosystem services in aquatic freshwaters ● Monitoring, managing, and preventing natural phenomena triggered by climate change (e.g. forest fires, landslides, urban heat islands, increased nutrient leaching, invasive species etc.)
Examples of actions:
- Improving protection of coasts, estuaries, rivers against erosion and storm surges by applying Nature Based Solutions
- Integrating water management to mitigate the impact of more intense rainfall events and flooding from rainwater, groundwater, water courses and rivers in, e.g., mountainous and coastal areas
- Improving the management of groundwater and surface waters, including pressures from discharges in riverbeds caused by peak loads
- Strengthening urban resilience by using space in a multifunctional way, as for example by investigating into blue-green infrastructure as part of urban design
- Facilitating the maintenance of soil moisture and supply to ground- and surface waters
- Testing methods and solutions to cope with impacts of sea level rise (such as erosion, flooding, saltwater intrusion)
- Initiating nature restoration measures in water management at rivers, lakes, wetlands, or groundwater (rewinding of water courses and rivers or rewetting of wetlands)
- Implementing ecosystem services such as carbon storage, soil formation as well as water quality and flows
- Predicting climate change impacts and the effects they have on societal values and exploring the cost of such measures and stimulating the involvement of business opportunities for SMEs
- Promoting social innovation, e.g., by actively engaging communities, stakeholders, and citizen’s participation in implementation of pilots and measures
- Piloting small-scale technical solutions as part of integrated coastal zone management
- Mainstreaming of successful measures and monitoring methods in strategies and management guidelines
- Adopting improved methods for tackling other effects of climate change such as drought, heat stress on road infrastructure or energy systems, salinisation, etc.
Biodiversity and ecosystem services are vital assets for the North Sea Region. However, they are under pressure from climate change, intensive land use, and urbanisation, among others. Action is needed to restore and protect natural ecosystems and meet core EU policy such as the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030, the Chemicals Strategy, and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
Examples of themes in Specific Objective 3.2:
Long-term sustainable protection and restoration of marine biodiversity and environmentally protected areas ● Ecosystems and biodiversity in rural and urbanised landscapes. ● Ecosystem services in marine and coastal spaces, including reducing polluting substances such as litter and plastics and mitigating risks regarding wrecks and munition ● Sustainable management of ecosystems and protection of the environment, realised through the participation and support of citizens and civil society organisations (e.g., citizen science).
Examples of actions:
- Testing methods addressing a range of pressures on biodiversity and ecosystems, such as invasive species, marine litter, and contaminants.
- Strengthening methods to accommodate off-shore renewable energy production to meet requirements of marine ecosystems - such as potential use of subsea off-shore wind park infrastructure as artificial reefs and breeding grounds for marine species, while fulfilling all applicable environmental standards and ensuring proper environmental monitoring.
- Testing nature restoration methods for management of degraded ecosystems.
- Deploying new methods and technologies for environmental monitoring and management and mainstreaming successful approaches in line with approaches and methodological standards developed under the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
- Working with ecological corridors and green infrastructure in rural and urbanised landscapes to improve ecological connectivity.
- Implementing environmental measures and improved management of ecosystems by use of participatory processes.
- Developing and testing solutions for the development and enhancement of green infrastructure in urban areas.
- Initiating cooperation on reducing marine and coastal litter on beaches; contributing to the goal to keep litter under the threshold value of 20 items per 100 meters of coastline.
- Innovative pilot actions to increase biodiversity in cities with a positive impact on the wellbeing of citizens.
Feel free to consult one of our project advisors dedicated to this priority. They will gladly help you with any question you might have.