Governance of Nature-Based Solutions. Social equity in trans-sectoral co-creation and co-production

18:00 Tuesday 28 May




Yvette Jeuken (Netherlands) 1

1 - Duneworks, the Netherlands

Climate change is a ‘wicked problem’ which means that we don’t know the exact scope of the problem and potential solutions are highly contested. However, solutions require a joined problem definition and coordinated action that transcends (single) policy domains and sectors which make it challenging to develop a strategy that is both accepted and (actively) supported. Nature-based Solutions (NBS) are introduced as an inclusive and sustainable adaptation strategy to deal with the effects of climate change, taking into account the environmental, social and economic dimensions of climate change.

Besides delivering environmental benefits, NBS promise to bring co-benefits such as (green) job opportunities, improved quality of life and well-being. NBS interventions aim at a participatory and socially inclusive planning and implementation approach that integrates cross-sectoral and multi-disciplinary knowledge. Its open and highly adjustable character make NBS potentially suitable to create solutions that fit in diverse local contexts. Otherwise the gap with the messy nature of day-to-day efforts to realize plans and an ambitious (ideal) definition of NBS, which is present in an increasing body of literature, will grow further.

In practice however, participation in spatial interventions is often non-interactive and limited to informing and consulting citizens and not necessarily in an inclusive manner. Whilst negation and deliberation play a decisive role in shaping the outcomes and success (or failures), the practical translation of NBS to real-life contexts is therefore crucial to its success. In a context in which citizen participation is both highly political and often very limited, it is important to adopt an inclusive governance strategy and create a level playing field for participants in which environmental, social and economic trade-off’s can be negotiated between diverse groups of stakeholders. This presentation builds an argument for reflexive governance in which citizen participation is considered fair by the affected local residents, still relevant in terms of climate adaptation, while also bringing other benefits. It furthermore offers a practical implementation guide based on two place-based approaches (Environmental Justice and Placemaking) that can support practitioners in the development of a participatory and socially inclusive planning process of NBS interventions. A governance decision-tool that helps to make ideal types of NBS more practicable.

Both the poster and the presentation are based on a report that was written for Nature4Cities.

Nature4Cities has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 730468.References to the report: Jeuken, Y., Breukers, S., Karababa, E., D5.2 Citizen and Stakeholder Engagement strategies and tools for NBS implementation, March 2018.

European Commission (2015). Towards an EU Research and Innovation policy agenda for Nature-Based Solutions & Re-Naturing Cities. Final Report of the Horizon 2020 Expert Group on ‘Nature-Based Solutions’ and Re-Naturing Cities. Directorate-General for Research and Innovation.