Municipalities Water and Nature Network Event, Middelfart, Denmark

28 November 2018 - Published by Alistair Maltby
Partners of the EU WaterCoG project attended a workshop in Denmark to share ideas and lessons on ecosystem management and partnership working with local municipalities.
On Thursday 1st November, representatives from each of the municipalities across Denmark met to discuss the latest news and affairs regarding nature and the water environment. Around 130 members from local government attended and listened to a series of talks throughout the day. The morning session started with an update from KL, a Danish organization that supports and represents the municipalities at national government. This was followed by two presentations and a discussion session.
 
The first talk was from Sarah Wigley, from Westcountry Rivers Trust (standing in for Barry Bendall from the Rivers Trust, a partner of WaterCoG). Sarah gave an overview of how the ecosystems approach has been incorporated into river management in the UK over the last few years, with a particular focus on participatory ecosystem services mapping. This is a technique that has been carried out in many river catchments in England and Wales to engage stakeholders and facilitate the creation of local river management plans.
 
The second presentation was given by Lars Dinesen, a representative from Danish universities and also the Denmark Coordinator for IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services). Lars spoke about the theory and practice of ecosystems and biodiversity approaches in Denmark, describing the range of research techniques that have been carried out to support work in this field.
 
After lunch, the group split into two focus areas; water and nature. The water session consisted of a short introduction to the governance of rivers in UK and Denmark (by Niels Philip Jensen, KL and Sarah Wigley, WRT), followed by more presentations and group discussions. Sarah spoke about the UK Government’s Catchment-Based Approach initiative, which has been encouraging a local, collaborative approach to river management in the UK through the formation of multi-sector partnerships. Susanne Mortensen from the Limfjordsrådet/Aalborg municipality described the pilot project that she has been working on through WaterCoG, supporting local stakeholders to identify, plan and deliver new projects in the Ryå river catchment, which will have multiple benefits for society and the environment. The final talk was from Kim Diget Christensen, a project manager from the Danish government, who spoke about the situation with financial budgets for municipality projects.
 
Throughout the day, the audience were asked a variety of questions via the Slido mobile app, such as: How much do you know about ecosystems (before and after talks)? What can we learn from England? How do you want to use co-governance in your work? What elements of CaBA or Ryå have inspired you?