By Daniele Savietto and Ilaria Bionda
The month of June celebrated a significant milestone for the TRANS-lighthouses project, which aims to address the socio-political challenges of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS). The TRANS-lighthouses project, sponsored by the European Union, aims to develop fairer and more equitable guidelines for the implementation of NBS.
NBS are solutions that are inspired by and integrate nature into the management of natural resources, ecosystems, and social systems. They can be used to address a wide range of challenges, including climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation.
The kickoff event, held on the picturesque Azores island of Sao Miguel from 21st to 23rd of June 2023, marked the beginning of collaboration among various multidisciplinary partners involved in the project. This meeting was the first opportunity of most of the participants to meet in person, after months meeting only through a computer screen. It has been an important moment to create bonds and networks between people and not only between partners.
This cross-border partnership was established among 19 European partners from 10 countries:
- CES, Centre for Social Studies (CES)
- Roskilde University (RUC)
- Technical University of Munich (TUM)
- The Cyprus Institute (CyI)
- Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)
- Nantes Université (NU) (Affiliated to CNRS)
- Université Gustave Eiffel (uni. Eiffel) (Affiliated to CNRS)
- University of Louvain (UCLouvain)
- Sapienza, Università di Roma (Sapienza)
- University of Extremadura (UEx)
- Universidade dos Açores (UAc)
- ATHENA Research Centre (ARC)
- Economias BioRegionales (EBR)
- Município de Estarreja (CME)
- Município de Barcelos (CMB)
- Ville de Bruxelles – Stad Brussel (Brussels)
- Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD)
- Associazione Jangada&Viração
- Cooperativa de Incubação de Iniciativas de Economia Solidária (Kairós)
The TRANS-lighthouses Project
The TRANS-lighthouses project emerges as an innovative response to promote more sustainable communities, focusing on the potential of Nature-Based Solutions to generate environmental, social, and economic benefits.
In this manner, the project brings together experts from various fields to co-create and promote more inclusive and resilient practices.
During the launch event in the Azores, participants had the opportunity to share their unique knowledge and perspectives on the development and implementation of Nature-Based Solutions. The importance and richness of the initial meeting can be found in the diversity of subjects involved: research centres, universities, municipalities, organizations and associations of civil society.
The gathering facilitated the establishment of a transdisciplinary community of practices that will work to address the biodiversity and climate crises through the application of NBS.
The project is structured into several Work Packages (WPs) that address specific aspects of NBS implementation. These WPs, ranging from research and reflection to governance policies, communication, and engagement, aim to collaboratively work together to maximize the impact and outcomes of the project.
The distinctive approach of TRANS-lighthouses involves scientific research and theoretical reflection to expand the understanding and definition of NBS. Additionally, it encompasses policy and governance strategies to promote structures that ensure a fair and inclusive transition.
Furthermore, the project envisions the establishment of experiential labs that will empower local communities. An engaged and transformative communication approach is also a priority, aiming to raise awareness about NBS and their benefits for diverse audiences.
The project also seeks to drive innovation and knowledge transfer through the interconnection and fusion of resources, concepts, and practices, in pursuit of continuous improvement in NBS approaches.
With the successful kickoff in the Azores, the TRANS-lighthouses project takes its initial steps toward systemic transformation. The guidelines and practices developed in this pioneering project are expected to inspire communities and governments worldwide to adopt more sustainable and equitable solutions, fostering a better future for generations to come.