DORDRECHT – Dordrecht’s European Climate Adaptation Project BEGIN has won major awards at the European Commission’s RegioStars Awards. The project received not only the Audience Award in the “Green Europe” category, but also the “Public Choice” award. This means that BEGIN received the most votes from all European projects this year. European Commissioner Elisa Ferreira announced the winners last night via a live broadcast from Brussels.
The RegioStars Award is an annual Excellence Award of the European Commission. With this, the Commission wants to show how inspiring local projects supported by the European Union are making an important contribution to a green smart economy in the regions.
Initially, the awards were to be presented at a ceremony in Dubrovnik, Croatia. However, due to the restrictive measures surrounding covid in various EU member states, the live streaming alternative from Brussels has been selected. However, this does not diminish the fun of the celebration between BEGIN partners. The double award is a huge boost to the municipality of Dordrecht, the project’s lead partner.
BEGIN stands for “blue green infrastructure through social innovation”. The project started in 2014. Its overall goal is to provide effective solutions to adapt to climate change by adding “blue and green” infrastructure (BGI) in urban areas. This is done in close cooperation with residents and local partners (“Social Innovation”). In this way, neighborhoods are better equipped to deal with the consequences of climate change. This means less heat stress, less flooding and a healthier and greener living environment.
An important aspect of BEGIN is the exchange of knowledge between the participating partners. 16 organizations – 10 cities and 6 knowledge institutions – work together from 6 countries around the North Sea: Belgium, Germany, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. In total, 35 projects have been completed in recent years that, in addition to greening and water storage, have reduced climate problems such as flood risks by 30 percent. All this by adding state-of-the-art infrastructure, such as green walkways and sustainable urban drainage systems.
Dordrecht has completed several projects in recent years with financial resources and expertise from BEGIN. Greenery has been added in petrified neighborhoods, such as Vogelbuurt. The water caused a lot of inconvenience in Strinburg park. The park has been redesigned in collaboration with local residents, including a natural water playground. Various measures have been implemented in Dubbeldemonde Park to improve biodiversity. The development of the plan to transform the Dordwijk area into City Park XXL was made possible in part through the collaboration at BEGIN. This also applies to De Staart’s tidal park plans.
Eileen Keelder, Task Manager for Green Blue City and International Lead at BEGIN, on international cooperation: “What we have learned in recent years is how to deal with climate variability. In addition to a lot of green space in cities, this also requires a lot of awareness among residents. Municipalities have And other governments and knowledge institutions have a great deal of knowledge about what might happen if it’s too hot in a city. How do residents know what to do if it starts to rain heavily? And what if a hurricane is expected, what should they do? You don’t tell them when it happens. , but in advance so that they can prepare and that is a challenge, but a necessity, because that is exactly what can prevent the most damage and save lives!”
Eileen Keelder is happy with the success and the results achieved, but is looking forward to the future: “We continue to work on new solutions to deal well with the consequences of climate change. We do this with partners and especially with the population. We are also focused on developing the De Staart region. From a vulnerable area, where Decreased facilities, we will invest in the development of a sustainable and inclusive neighborhood.With more green space and right next to De Biesbosch National Park, it is a unique place to live and recreation.Moreover, this neighborhood plays an important role as a shelter in case of flooding.We will also design the neighborhood according to So “.
Alderman Marco Stam (Climate Adaptation) is proud to have won the overall awards: “BEGIN has emerged as a major public favorite among hundreds of European projects. As the project lead, Dordrecht has emerged internationally by winning the Regiostars Awards. The map. Our city is an inspiring example of European cities, regions and countries other.”
Looking at Here Live broadcast of the announcement of the winner of the BEGIN Public Choice Award.
Looking at Here Film BEGIN Nomination for RegioStars Awards.