The Green Infrastructure Implementation conference, held on 19 November 2010 at the Centre Borschette in Brussels, was attended by more than 80 participants from EU Member States, Non-Governmental Organizations, Universities and Research Centres as well as the European Institutions.
The purpose of the conference was to pursue the ongoing discussion process and to support the further work on Green Infrastructure. The specific objectives were to share views and discuss the state of Green Infrastructure implementation in Europe, to identify gaps in implementation, to highlight the strong linkages to climate change adaptation and mitigation and to other relevant policies, as well as to share good practices and lessons learned in order to work towards a common understanding and guidelines to go forward. Speakers from a wide range of backgrounds working with Green Infrastructure projects were invited to share their knowledge and experiences on implementation.
The conference found that overall, good knowledge of Green Infrastructure exists and many projects have been implemented on the ground. There is a clear need to ensure the health of ecosystems and the services they provide and to move from grey to green infrastructure by taking into account socio-economic factors. In order to maximize the multi-benefits, long-term commitment is needed in spatial scale and across time. Stakeholder involvement, integration into other sectoral policies, as well as good management practices, are of great importance. There is also a clear need to come up with guidelines for implementation as well as indicators to measure progress. Financing will be one of the key issues to achieve these goals and needs to be addressed. It was concluded that existing financing should be used more effectively while considering innovative financing mechanisms and the future role of the private sector. More effort should also be put into communication, stakeholder relations and awareness raising activities. The concept will need a clear follow-up plan and development of European level policy.
The Conference succeeded in identifying what has been done and the ways to go forward, however, many issues need further discussion and defining, and therefore further work will be required.