A successful kick-off of the European project BUFFER+
Last week the two-day kick-off of the Interreg NWE project BUFFER+ took place. BUFFER+ is a European project that deals with peat conservation, restoration and sustainable rewetting, but also with the governance and new revenue models that go hand in hand with this. Within BUFFER+ 21 project partners and 7 associated organizations from 5 different European regions work together. The partners come from Ireland, France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Together they work on the design of new peat landscapes to create buffers for CO2 and water and to promote biodiversity.
The province of Groningen is the Lead Partner of this project, which is why the kick-off took place in Groningen. The fen peat belt around the city, also known as 'Groeningen', was the focus of the kick-off. Groeningen connects the lakes and landscapes of five municipalities (Westerkwartier, Noordenveld, Tynaarlo, Groningen and Midden-Groningen), the provinces of Groningen and Drenthe, and the Waterboards Hunze and Aa's and Noorderzijlvest. Within Netwerk Groeningen, various partners work together for a climate-positive region. Watch a film on Groeningen with English subtitles here.
During the first BUFFER+ partner meeting the international partners were introduced to the challenges and developments of Groeningen. On Wednesday, October 11, the BUFFER+ partners and several stakeholders left by bus to the peat areas 't Roegwold, the Onnerpolder and the Southern Westerkwartier to listen to and to discuss the plans for the peat meadow area, wet nature and peat restoration, collaboration through the Innovation workshop in Hellum and how nature development and water storage go well together. The municipalities, provinces and water boards involved, but also nature organisations and schools and universities spoke in the area about their work and the challenges that arise here.
The official kick-off followed a day later in the Provincial House. After a warm welcome from Deputy Johan Hamster, the showing of the BUFFER+ animation, and an introduction to the BUFFER+ project by project coordinator Roos Galjaard, ecologist Eddy Wymenga gave an excellent talk on the role of peat and water for the climate in the Northern Netherlands. After a short networking break, the focus was on the five different European regions involved in BUFFER+. Within BUFFER+, the various regions offer many opportunities for collaboration in the field of peat restoration, new revenue models, climate policy and biodiversity. The international kick-off is the start of a great cooperation towards a climate-adaptive North-West Europe.