Sectoral briefings and roundtables
Sectoral briefings are a short summary of all the material from the questionnaires, desktop reviews, interviews and roundtable discussions with our sectoral stakeholders with whom we build the Community of Practice to say what we know about the current sectors’ views on restoration and NbS, how we think MERLIN can interact with them, what we are aiming to do, so these are the record of our baseline/entry point for our cooperation with the sectors.
Roundtables - The MERLIN roundtables aim to build a Community of Practice linking the economic sector representatives with MERLIN scientific and implementation partners, MERLIN scientists meet the sector representatives three times during the four years of the project.
Roundtables 1: to understand the motivation and interest of sectors and the impact of nature restoration on the sectors
Roundtables 2: to share examples of river restorations and their impacts on the sectors; to focus on the MERLIN cases and to discuss pro and contra arguments; to extend the number of involved stakeholders. Introduce cross-sectoral discussions, discuss policy levers and sectoral cooperation opportunities
Roundtables 3: (coming 2024) to discuss sectoral strategies including value chain impacts and cross sectoral needs to ensure MERLIN outputs speak to the sector
The Hydropower roundtable was held on April 21, 2022. Nine representatives from International, European and National energy and hydropower associations attended, as well as representatives from individual energy companies. A presentation on the Swedish experience of working with the hydropower sector to restore rivers to meet the Water Framework Directive helped set the context, supplemented by a summary of themes arising from questionnaire responses and a literature review.
The Insurance roundtable was held on March 31, 2022. Nine representatives from international and European insurance companies attended as well as five MERLIN partners.
The navigation roundtable was held on March 22, 2022, organized by WWF Hungary with support of The James Hutton Institute. Twelve participants representing associations and commissions at EU and international scale - guest speaker from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers attended.
RT1: Peat Extraction
The Peat Extraction roundtable was held on April 25, 2022. The meeting brought together 15 peat extraction experts from private and non-governmental organisations across Europe to deliberate on restoration issues in the sector. One of the key experts in the sector highlighted that this roundtable is the first time that a unique and different group of industry experts have come together to discuss restoration. A guest speaker, Asha Hingorani, shared the Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss Association’s (CSPMA) experience with restoration of peat extraction sites. The discussion was structured along four main themes, which emerged from a literature review, questionnaire responses and consultation with MERLIN peat extraction sector partner, the International Peatland Society (IPS).
RT1: Water supply & Sanitation
The Water supply & Sanitation roundtable was held on March 07, 2022, organized by WWF together with The James Hutton Institute. Besides the MERLIN team (JHI and WWF), following organisations participated: Aquafed and Aqualia, representing the views of private operators, and Aqua Publica Europea, the European association of public water operators. A meeting with a representative from the European Water Managers Association (EUWMA) was held separately.
MERLIN’s 2nd Hydropower Sector Roundtable brought together 16 experts from the private sector (e.g. energy companies and their representative bodies) and non-governmental organisations. Discussions were framed around the cooperation points identified in the Sector Briefing informed by the 1st roundtable and a desktop review of peer reviewed and non-peer reviewed literature. Key issues during the Roundtable were the better inclusion of NbS in licensing processes, the removal of obsolete barriers as an opportunity for the sector to engage in NbS, and the ability to measure the sector’s impact on freshwater biodiversity improvement.
On May 16th, the 2nd MERLIN Insurance Sector Roundtable was held, with around 20 participants from diverse institutions in relation with the insurance sector. During the online event, we looked at the role of the regulatory and policy framework in incentivising or hindering the insurance sector to contribute to nature restoration. The policies discussed included the EU Taxonomy, Solvency II, or the Nature Restoration Law, and the summary of the obtained results are available in the report.
As part of the WP4 work package the 2nd Navigation Sector Roundtable was successful with the participation of 9 representatives from EU wide umbrella organizations and sector partners responsible for rivers like Danube, Rhine, Sava. The discussion was mainly about the cooperation points identified earlier and about the Nature-based-Solution approach. The participants discussed what NbS means in the context of the navigation, what are the knowledge gaps, conflicts of interest or win-win solutions. The responsibilities of the stakeholders on some rivers were discussed in order to find the motivations to move toward NbS and identify knowledge gaps. The findings of the RT2 are available in the final notes.
RT2: Peat extraction
The second Peat Extraction Sector roundtable brought together 23 experts from private and non-governmental organisations across Europe and abroad. The participants discussed the meaning of large-scale restoration and NbS for the sector and the policy changes, kind of financing and cross-sector cooperation needed to enable large-scale restoration. The participants noted that different member state conditions, including land ownership and use regulations, limit the potential to undertake large-scale restoration. However, a viable business case backed by clear legislation and strong collaboration between different stakeholders in the landscape could enable this.
RT2: Water supply and sanitation
The 2nd Water supply and Sanitation Sector Roundtable brought 17 experts together from the public and private sectors and NGOs, to discuss the challenges and benefits of upstream freshwater restoration using large-scale NbS. The lack of data and capacity for NbS application has been highlighted as an significant constraint, whereas establishing partnerships with other stakeholders, such as the insurance sector or municipalities were mentioned as a good way forward. With clearer data on NbS benefits and more collaboration, private and public funding can better be attracted as well.