A R&D project awarded by Vlaio project n° HBC.2022.0617.
There are currently major gaps in terms of the inclusion of important interdisciplinary aspects of the coastal system in making decisions on the approach to manage climate change and biodiversity loss in coastal areas and combine them with economic and societal needs. Nature Based Solutions (NBS) – by definition – will bring together approaches from different disciplines that will enable the provision of a holistic conceptual representation of the complex coastal socio-ecological system and consideration of key drivers in this, including quantitative valuation of coastal ecosystem services now and into the future, and the influence of social perceptions and values. Current engineering methods used are not holistic enough and if not combined with NBS not able to provide resilient and nature inclusive approaches for the challenges along our coastline.
Uncertainties – intrinsically associated with Nature based Solutions – are not adequately addressed today. The importance of risk for coastal policy makers and managers implies an ever-increasing use of risk-based approaches and of probabilistic assessments to try to capture uncertainties associated with natural dynamics. Recognizing that uncertainties in the actual solutions cannot be entirely removed gives space to assess the application of NBS with the added value of integrating natural capital and ecosystem services valuations. In view of this living labs and large scale tests are a next step to test, learn and adopt actual governance and apply a more holistic and systemic thinking. Today it is however questionable if such living labs are feasible and acceptable.
The main goal of CASSANDRA is to identify and overcome the gaps and formulate a roadmap towards the realisation of a large-scale NBS living lab integrating technical, economic, societal, and administrative aspects. The expert outcome of the project will allow the consortium to justify, raise awareness of the benefits and apply for funding to install, monitor, and evaluate a large-scale integrated NBS living lab for the Belgian Coastline.
The project is led by HAEDES as part of a consortium consisting of IMDC, Econopolis, DEME, Jan De Nul, which rely on the University of Antwerp and De Blauwe Cluster to provide specific services and knowledge.