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Group photo kick-off on the Sand Motor

Kick-off event '23

Group photo kick-off on the Sand Motor
3 minutes

And we’re off! All partners officially kicked off the Interreg North-Sea Funded project MANABAS COAST project in The Hague, March 13th and 14th. We reflected on project objectives and had a lively discussion on the first steps of our journey to mainstreaming Nature-Based Solutions (NbS) in North-West Europe. We can look back at two days filled with engaging panel discussions, inspiring speeches, enlightening insights, and a field visit. With a focus on getting to know each other and laying the foundations for a strong and fruitful partnership for the next five years.   



"We need to build trust and confidence"

Monique Busnach-Blankers of Rijkswaterstaat opened the event with an inspiring speech with encouraging words. Just the support we needed, because in her words: “We need to build trust and confidence, and a kick-off meeting is the best way to achieve this!”  

Keynote speaker Kevin House from the UK Environment Agency talked about his experience in managing transitions, highlighting the importance of incorporating NbS in coastal erosion and flood risk management strategies. “We know climate change is happening and we need to change the way we work. Kevin was followed by the official project launch by the members of the Steering Group, pitching their perspective of a successful MANABAS COAST project.

Steering Group project launch

Looking through 'enabling glasses'

Jurre de Vries and Quirijn Lodder, while wearing their ‘enabling glasses’, took the attendants through an interesting panel discussion on the ‘6 enablers for mainstreaming’, these are the key factors for successfully developing NbS. One of the focus areas of Work Package 1. The key messages were that sharing knowledge and developing a common – broadly understood - language are vital for mainstreaming NbS in coastal regions. We should aim be confident in applying NbS and not only strive for social acceptance of NbS, but also a social desire for them!

Field visit to the Sand Motor

The day ended with a presentation of Carola van Gelder-Maas, project-manager of the monitoring and evaluation program of the Sand Motor, one of the project pilot areas. After which we all dressed up for a walk along the beach of the Sand Motor. Which was the perfect time for a fun activity: a photo competition. With winds gusting over 50 kilometer per hour swept through, nature provided is us with an outstanding demonstration of its power.

Shell in a sandstorm

Winner of the photo competition 

Workshops kick off event

Getting to work

Day two was all about familiarizing with the work packages. After an early morning walk in the dunes and coffees, the project manager Matthijs Boersema welcomed the attendees for the second day of the kick-off with an introduction of Work Package 2. Together we focused on developing a baseline questionnaire for the NbS case studies. After lunch, we worked towards visualizing what our mainstreaming framework should look like. In this workshop, we worked on defining a common concept of the framework. And thus, taking the first steps for our objectives in work Package 1. Last but not least, we concluded the day with a workshop on Work Package 3 and worked on how we can build capacity for mainstreaming, by for example learning how to involve students in our project.

Strong collaboration

The MANABAS COAST project has officially taken off and everyone involved can look back on two days filled with enthusiasm, ambition, great questions, and time to get to know each other more. A great foundation for collaboration was established, which will only grow stronger over the next years.