Researchers contribute to international conference

Dan Keech and Chris Short recently contributed to a key international conference held at the University of Strasbourg which focused on Nature-based Solutions (NbS) and Water-related Risks.

Dan Keech and Chris Short from the CCRI recently spent three days attending a conference in Strasbourg, France discussing the potential contribution of NbS to water related risks such as flooding and drought.

The conference was organised by the French research organisation INRAE, the University of Strasbourg and collaborators from the University of Berkeley in the United States. Chris and Dan were invited to join the conference to share their experiences of working with a range of partners in the UK to highlight the social aspects as well as those relating to reducing the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss.

In the Friday morning session, Dan Keech presented a joint paper developed in collaboration with researchers in INRAE’s Bordeaux Office and the University of Galway, Ireland that highlights the social dynamics of NbS, which are often overlooked in favour of more technical aspects. The paper ‘Spatial and social research gaps: inter- and trans-disciplinary approaches to water risk management’ is derived from discussions arising from a European network GOVERN, of which CCRI is a member, which aims to highlight the advantages of exploring the social aspects and complexities of NbS.

Chris Short was the closing keynote speaker, tasked with providing a ‘think piece’ that pulled together the various themes throughout the conference and set a research agenda for the range of disciplines where discussed, including the issues of governance and the research gaps that the conference has highlighted. This task was shared with Cybille Stantzel, Associate Professor in Ecology at ENGESS in Strasbourg who specialises in citizen science. Together they explored the future research agendas and challenges for NbS in the years to come.

This was also an opportunity to share with delegates the innovative ways in which NbS are explained and promoted in the Stroud natural flood management (NFM) project. Launched earlier this year, these have been produced by working with the local artists Joe Magee and Antony Lyons enabling the production of a graphic novel to highlight the benefits of NbS in the landscape in a way attractive to young people.

The two films involve interviews with those planning NFM interventions in the landscape and a personal reflection from a local resident who has flooded in the past about his relationship with water and the difference the NFM project has made.