WaterLANDS : Water-based solutions for carbon storage, people and wilderness

Key figures

Project duration: December 2021 – December 2026


Dedicated website : waterlands.eu (under construction)

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WaterLANDS (Water-based solutions for carbon storage, people and wilderness) is a 32-partner project funded by the European Horizon 2020 Green Deal programme. The project has a budget of €23 million and will run for five years. WaterLANDS will restore wetlands decimated by human activity in Europe and lay the foundations for upscaling wetland restoration and conservation over much larger areas. The project officially started on 1 December 2021 and will contribute to the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030).

WaterLANDS aims to promote the expansion of wetland restoration. Socio-economic factors, insufficient stakeholder engagement, lack of government commitment, lack of funding and inadequate knowledge exchange on restoration methods have all been identified as barriers to effective wetland restoration. As a result, most past restoration work has been modest in scale, has taken place primarily where there is only one responsible landowner or organization, and has often been undertaken primarily for conservation reasons. . WaterLANDS will seek to overcome these obstacles by investigating the combination of factors that will enable wetland restoration to spread across Europe.

Two sites in the Mediterranean are among the 15 knowledge sites and 6 action sites of the project:

  • Camargue, France (knowledge site)
  • Venice Lagoon, Italy (action site)

Main objectives:

WaterLANDS has set out to achieve 7 ambitious objectives:

  • Objective 1: Provide a demonstration of upscaling on a large scale;
  • Objective 2: Identify barriers to restoration and integrated solutions for upscaling;
  • Objective 3: Foster cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary collaboration to co-create restoration;
  • Objective 4: Apply a community-led paradigm in the co-design of restoration;
  • Objective 5: Ensure that relevant past experience informs future wetland restoration;
  • Objective 6: Provide tailored financial solutions and resources for restoration;
  • Objective 7: Incubate a restoration legacy, by laying the foundation for upscaling.

Plan Bleu’s activities in the framework of WaterLANDS (2021-2026):

Plan Bleu is mainly involved in WP3 – Aligning Governance through activities aiming at identifying the political and governance conditions that contribute to the success of the process of development and implementation of ecological restoration of wetlands and associated ecosystems. Plan Bleu will also contribute to WP7 – Communication, Dissemination, Data and Knowledge Management and Exploitation of Results, as well as to restoration advocacy with various stakeholders at the Mediterranean, European and international levels. Finally, Plan Bleu will co-organise the final project conference with the University College of Dublin, Ireland.

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