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Event//Green infrastructure: The Role of Latvia’s wetlands in sustainable flood mitigation

On 17th November from 9:00 – 11:00 CET an online webinar ” Green infrastructure: The Role of Latvia’s wetlands in sustainable flood mitigation ” took place, where we searched for better ways how people can co-exist with water and how flood risks can be managed sustainably.  Although the value of floodplains, natural river meanders, and other wetland ecosystems is now more widely recognized as crucial for water purification and retention during flooding, many EU countries, including Latvia, face significant difficulties in integrating these natural assets into their water management and flood risk mitigation practices. 

In Latvia, similary to the rest of Europe, a significant portion of the land has been drained to create space for human infrastructure, agriculture, and forestry. Historically, more than 90% of Latvia’s floodplains have been lost, and rivers have been channelized. This, however, has often led to the destruction of valuable river habitats, deterioration of wetlands, and problems with water quality due to the accelerated delivery of nutrients and pollution into water bodies. Currently EU Funds are actively being used to dredge long-ago-channelized river sections to restore their drainage capacity. 

In this webinar we looked at the problem with fresh eyes, by catching a glimpse of flood mitigation and floodplain management related challanges faced in Latvia and seeing good examples from elsewhere in the EU. 

In this webinar: 

  • Presentation: Senior expert from REKK.AQUA, the Water Economics Unit of the Regional Centre for Energy Policy Research (Hungary), shared flood risk mitigation experiences from the project Land4flood, including from examples where flood risk is being reduced by effective use of flood-peak polders, followed by a Q&A. View presentation
  • Presentation:  Manager of a large floodplain territory from Latvia  shared the experience of managing vast natural floodplains in Sita Nature Park of the Lubāns Wetland complex (Latvia), a internationally important Natura 2000 site for birds. View presentation
  • Film discussion: Green Liberty (Latvia) presented the short film “Space for the rivers: Towards sustainable flood prevention”, followed by a Q&A.  View short film
  • Panel discussion: Experts and researchers from the field of water management, flood prevention and wetland restoration met in a short panel discussion, where the main challanges faced by Latvia of achieving the sustainable flood prevention goals were identified and possible solutions discussed. Participants of the panel discussion included Ministry of Environment and Regional development (Water resources unit), Ministry of Agriculture, Latvian Environment, Geology and Meteorology Center and University of Daugavpils.

110 Participants were present in the webinar from 10 EU countries, including Latvia, Lithuania, Belgium, Hungary, Netherlands and others.

This event was organized by NGO “Green Liberty” and “CEE Bankwatch Network” within the “Citizens’ Observatory for Green Deal Financing” project, financed by European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Views and opinions expressed are however those of the authors only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.

The event was organised in Latvian and English with synchronous translations. The recording is available here (with the original language of the speaker):


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