A central aspect of MERLIN is to ensure long-term implementation and improvement of freshwaters and wetlands. In that regard, long-term planning and visioning of how restoration can be scaled up at a larger, regional scale, is of paramount importance. This requires a holistic thinking of societal, environmental, and economic aspects, varying from sustainable financial mechanisms to climate change modelling, ambitious visions for the future, and bringing together different actors and stakeholders across governance levels.
The MERLIN Deliverable D2.2 “Synthesis of the Interim Regional Scalability Plans” was completed in April 2023. It synthesizes 16 case studies’ interim Regional Scalability Plans. The case studies completed these interim plans by filling in a template which asked them questions about the “what, why, where, how, and who” of scaling up of freshwater restoration regionally. The synthesis of these plans provides key messages for regional upscaling until 2050, summarizes the commonalities between the three MERLIN clusters: the peatlands and wetlands, small streams and basins, and large transboundary rivers, has a set of conclusions and recommendations for going forward, and includes all the individual interim Regional Scalability Plans by the case studies.
Consequently, the synthesis, the interim Regional Scalability Plan template, and the individual interim plans can be used as a source of inspiration and guidance for drafting scaling up plans across freshwater systems. The wealth of the individual interim plans showcases the different approaches and focus areas of case studies, as well as the differing levels of progress in the thinking towards regional scaling up.