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DkIT Hosts Nature Based Solutions for Water Conference

30 May 2024

Dundalk Institute of Technology’s Centre for Freshwater and Environmental Studies (CFES) led by Dr Suzanne Linnane and Dr Caroline Gilleran Stephens and in association with the Local Authorities Water Programme (LAWPRO) recently hosted a one-day conference on Nature-based Solutions (NbS) on campus. This occasion was attended by Minister Malcom Noonan, T.D. Minster of State for Nature, Heritage & Electoral reform who took this opportunity to launch Ireland's Nature-based Solutions Implementation Strategy.

The event was opened by DkIT President Dr Diarmuid O’Callaghan who said,

“As a Higher Education Institution we are incredibly proud of all our research centres. The Centre for Freshwater and Environmental Studies is a dynamic and critically important addition to our academic community.  Investigating environmental issues and evaluating effective solutions has never felt so relevant as it does today.  One of the areas that the Centre of Freshwater and Environmental Studies has excelled at, is building connections.  One of those is with the Local Authority Waters Programme.  On behalf of them we are delighted to be hosting today’s event”. 

Dr O’Callaghan was followed by a ministerial address from Malcom Noonan, T.D. who officially took to the stage to launch the Implementation Strategy. Addressing the conference, Minister Noonan said,

“We are in an era of environmental change and need to look at ways we can incorporate nature-based solutions to protect and restore our urban, rural, coastal and riverine environments.

 “I am delighted to launch the ‘Nature-Based Management of Urban Rainwater and Urban Surface Water Discharges’ and the ‘Rainwater Management Planning – Guidance for Local Authorities’ today.  Working together, several departments and agencies collaborated to create this strategy as a roadmap to bring urban Nature-based Solutions into the mainstream in Ireland. This is a live document, and its steering group will continue to oversee its implementation of urban nature-based solutions in the years ahead.

 “I am also pleased to publish the ‘Rainwater Management Planning Guidance’ document for local authorities, an information document that will assist them in the decision making at settlement level.”

Master of Ceremonies on the day was Dr Fran Igoe, Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO) who chaired themes such as Urban, Rural, Youth, Riverine and Coastal which was followed by an in depth panel discussion on policy and next steps. The guests were treated to a very special presentation from students from St. Vincents Secondary School, Dundalk who presented their project on Implementing Nature-based Solutions on school grounds through science-based exploration.

Nature-based Solutions if delivered appropriately, can significantly contribute to addressing multiple societal challenges. The International Union of Conservation Concern estimate that one third of climate mitigation needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement can be provided by Nature-based Solutions.

This event was a held following on from a 3-day Interreg NWE funded ResiRiver Home | ResiRiver ( partner meeting which was also held in DkIT. The event drew together international and Irish experts to share their experiences and visions for the upscaling and mainstreaming of Nature-based Solutions.

The conference was CPD approved by Engineers Ireland and was co-sponsored by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Office of Public Works.


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