The first workshop of the COastal REstoration PLATform (CORE-PLAT)* of the Ebro Delta took place on 16 January 2023 at the headquarters of the Center for Climate Resilience in Eurecat Amposta. The most important for the project regional stakeholders, such as public administrations, economic and citizen associations, altogether with environmental NGOs participated.
The REST-COAST Project Coordinator, Prof. Agustín Sanchez-Arcilla of the Maritime Engineering Laboratory (LIM) of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), kicked-off the workshop by presenting the project and its main objectives to achieve large-scale coastal restoration and improve adaptation to climate change. He shared experiences and information about the solutions developed in the nine Rest-Coast pilot sites. Regarding the Ebro Delta Core Pilot, Prof. Vicenç Gracia of LIM-UPC, described the main actions as (1) improving the river-coast connectivity, (2) creating space for dynamic natural processes to hinder the erosion produced by the lack of sediments and the risks associated with climate change and, finally, (3) obtaining benefits such as ecosystem services and biodiversity.
Dr. Carles Ibáñez, Director of the Center for Climate Resilience of the technological center Eurecat, described the Plan for green infrastructures and touristic use of the Ebro Delta, as an unofficial document, drawn up by different stakeholders, which connects various ongoing projects in the area. This intervention also underlined the role of the local CORE-PLATs a long-term space for debate and co-design of ecological restoration activities.
Dr. Laura Puértolas, from the consultancy Albirem Sustainability, partner in the REST-COAST project, presented the objectives of the CORE-PLAT as an instrument to promote co-management and long-term commitment to the restoration of the Delta. She also underlined the need to involve stakeholders in restoration at the European level, as well as addressing governance challenges and barriers in the ways of many technical aspects in ecological restoration projects. Additionally, the local CORE-PLAT design was presented. It envisages two levels of participation: a first level with key actors, which guarantees operational management through consensus, and a second, broader level, with a higher number of stakeholders at a local level, in order to guarantee a discussion and exchange with the territory about the restoration proposals.
Other participants with competencies in coastal and water management shared relevant updates on regional planning development. Mr. Antoni Espanya from the Tarragona Coastal Service of the Spanish Ministry for Ecological Transition and Mr. Jesús Gómez from the Department of Climate Action Food and Rural Agenda of the Catalan Government preliminarily presented, respectively, the Delta Plan and the Delta Strategy. These are two official strategic roadmaps include actions of coastal restoration and sediment management and are close to receiving final approval. The Catalan Water Agency (ACA), the Spanish Ornithological Society (SEO BirdLife), the Ebro Delta Consensus Board and the Ebro Delta Natural Park were also engaged in the discussion, highlighting the relevance of participation in decision-making and introducing some of the Ebro area specific challenges around it.
Finally, Mr. Nil Álvarez from Eurecat addressed some practical management aspects of the CORE-PLAT that led to some essential agreements for the CORE-PLAT development. As highlighted in this session, one of the key roles of the CORE-PLAT will be the ability to anticipate issues that are not immediate, but which may be important in the coming years, as the approval of the new European restoration law, or new funding opportunities that may also come not only from public bodies but also private companies and foundations.
*The "living lab" philosophy of the CORE-PLAT is based on the knowledge that each member can contribute in order to co-create innovative solutions, moving forward to overcome those conflicts of interest which may lead to the failure of a project.
Photo: The REST-COAST team and stakeholders at the Ebro Delta workshop