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Co-designed nature-based solution in Nocera Inferiore, Italy

Multiple Authors
Nature-based solution in Nocera Inferiore. Photo: Luca Pucci

Summary

This nature-based solution sought to reduce landslide risk in Southern Italy.

This nature-based solution was implemented in the Nocera Inferiore municipality at the foot of the Monte Albino mountain in Southern Italy. It was prompted by the occurrence of previous disasters events, especially the one in 2005 that caused severe damages and the loss of lives at Nocera Inferiore. To avoid similar events from happening at Monte Albino, this solution had the main purpose to reduce landslide risk. At the same time, it also provided a number of co-benefits such as protection of a recreational area by installing several paths at the foot of the mountain, and the provision of new ecosystem services for the community.

The works under the project included maintenance/remediation of the slope and naturalistic engineering works on three channels, including channel lining and vegetated/stone gabions aimed at reducing erosion due to frequent rainfall events. Other minor activities including the construction of small hydraulic measures to retain the debris were also done.

Overview

Location:
  • Italy
Implementation sites:
  • Single country
  • Single location
Mountain region:
  • Monti Lattari
Province:
  • Campania/Salermo
Site locations:
  • Monte Albino (Nocera Inferiore municipality)

Solution scale:
  • Local
Ecosystem type(s):
  • Forest
  • Lakes and rivers
  • Urban
Solution type(s):
  • Education and awareness
  • Engineering
  • Monitoring
Sector(s):
  • Natural Hazards
Climate impact(s) addressed:
  • Landslides
Impact time-scales:
  • Rapid Onset
  • Slow Onset
Benefits:
  • Climate risk reduction (e.g. reduced risk from floods)
Co-benefits:
  • Environmental benefits (e.g. biodiversity preservation, water security, food security)
  • Political benefits (e.g. reduced displacement/migration)
  • Social benefits (e.g. poverty reduction, inclusiveness and equity, health and well-being)
Implementation timeline:
  • 2012 - 2019
Sendai targets:
SDGs:

Solution details

Main beneficiaries & outcomes

The main beneficiaries of the solution are local residents located at the slope are of the Monte Albino. Still, other region’s habitants also profit from related co-benefits.

Planning and implementation

Following the Italian legislation, the municipal technical office took charge of the solution implementation, including the public procurement process and the control of the construction works and maintenance.

Most relevant activities/events that lead to implementation:

● 2005: Landslide event on the Monte Sant’Angelo prompted several initiatives among residents. The municipal council opened a forum in the local “Agenda 21” for environmental sustainability to discuss landslide risk management together with representatives of the River Basin Authorities, the Regional Civil Protection, the Regional Department of Soil Defence, the Forest Ranger Corps, and the victims’ committee, several local associations etc. An Emergency Commissariat was established by the Regional Civil Protection.
● 2007 – 2010: Allocation of funds. €2.7 million were allocated for civil protection to the commissariat and it presented a proposal for new structural protection works. This sum later increased to €7.2 million.
● 2010 – 2011: Citizens/public participatory process launched by the SafeLand research project.
Updated landslide hazard analysis and risk estimation.
● 2011: Landslide risk mitigation plan/compromise solution reached as the result of public participatory process.
● 2012-2018: Call for Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) bids/tender process. Decision process of which company would build the solution.
● 2018: Regional funding transferred from the Regional Department for soil defence to the municipality of Nocera Inferiore.
Beginning of NBS construction.

Finance

The cost of the nature-based solution at Monte Albino amounted to €637,000.

Innovation

The resident’s collaboration in the co-design and creation of a compromise solution together with government officials, researchers, experts and other stakeholders. In fact, this aspect was fundamental in the implementation of a nature-based solution for disaster risk reduction instead of a grey one.

Performance evaluation

No information available

Long term project sustainability and maintenance

The municipality is in charge of the maintenance, however, no further information is available regarding the activities to put in place for this purpose.

Capacities for design and implementation

Knowledge

The extensive scientific knowledge of experts participating was a key benefit of the planning and implementation process. In fact, in a questionnaire survey administered at the end of the participatory process, the population stated that their knowledge on landslide risk mitigation measures had improved as well as their awareness on the topic. The involvement of trusted university professors and scientists who presented new and robust scientific evidence and ideas, equally contributed to reconciling different perspectives, and aligned the preferences of citizens and decision-makers for the risk mitigation plan.

Furthermore, the participatory process was only one of the phases of a research completed by the SafeLand project funded by the European Commission. Other activities included case study analysis, questionnaire survey and communication and education activities, all of them highly relevant for facilitating communication and sharing information among residents and other stakeholders.

Technology

Prior to the implementation of the solution, the University of Salerno conducted several studies, including some at a very high resolution, (1:1000 scale). These studies identified 10 mountain basins and 9 open slopes. The hydrographic network was also analysed to complement the landslide hazard analysis and risk estimation, where 520 buildings were mapped in the Monte Albino area.

Political / Legal

There was a mandate for the municipal technical office to implement a nature-based solution, and the rejection of the municipal council for grey approaches (supported by townspeople) was fundamental for the later realization of this measure. The municipal technical office took charge of the implementation. Local politicians also played a critical role in promoting the adoption of this nature-based solution.

Institutional

Several associations mediated and catalysed the local decision-making processes for landslide risk reduction, being crucial to the development of an NBS agenda on which decision-makers were confident enough to take action. They consisted mainly of a small group of environmental and social associations and the landslide victims’ committee (e.g., Montagna Amica/Friends of the mountain, Legambiente, victim’s committee) acted as advocacy coalitions.

Semi-structured interviews with members of these associations allowed a better understanding of their views about landslide risk mitigation and NBS, as some key members acted as mediators, translators, and networkers between different levels (e.g., local government and civil society) and different sectors/domains (e.g., environment, waste management and disaster risk reduction).

Socio-cultural

The social context had an important role in the planning and implementation of the project. Since the beginning of the process, the coalition and participation of interest/pressure groups prioritized the use of a nature-based solution with low environmental impact instead of a grey one. Moreover, the two years participatory process launched by SafeLand which required the cross-collaboration of residents, scientific experts, governments and other stakeholders allowed the agreement on the compromise policy path.

Outlook & Scalability

Barriers and adverse effects

• Opposite views caused conflicts regarding priorities for risk mitigation in Nocera Inferiore. Relocation is a continuous issue and was fiercely opposed by residents and members of the landslide victim committee.
• Conflict between authorities acting at different scales/levels.
• Given the tendency to implement risk mitigation intervention only in the aftermath of a disaster, and because of public rejection of initial proposals, the transferring of risk mitigation funding resulted in a slow process.
• Limited funding. However, this later functioned also as an enabler as it was one of the main reasons of a nature-based solution instead of a grey one.
• Lack of forest development plan and inadequate management of forest mainly due to the fact that forest is both publicly and privately owned.

Transformation and future outlook

Nature-based solutions have a longer lifespan than grey solutions and also help improve ecological resilience. Furthermore, this approach is also a promising strategy for reducing disaster risk, improving ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction, increasing social–ecological resilience, protecting ecosystems, and improving livelihoods through the maintenance, restoration, enhancement, and sustainable use of ecosystems and their services.

Potential for upscaling and replication

Based on available information, no replications have been reported.

Finally

Acknowledgments

The research providing the background information for this solution was funded by the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme through the grant to the budget of the PHUSICOS Project (https://phusicos.eu/, Grant agreement No. 776681) and the SafeLand Project (http://www. safeland-fp7.eu/Introduction.html, Grant Agreement: 226479). The solution description reflects the authors’ views and not those of the European Community. Neither the European Community nor any member of the PHUSICOS or SafeLanfd Consortium is liable for any use of the information reported in this solution. Julia Aguilera Rodriguez filled in the information, while Anna Scolobig collected the data and revised the solution description. We are especially grateful to some local partners including: Luca Pucci (Leonia Legambiente Campania), Settimio Ferlisi and Leonardo Cascini (University of Salerno), Sergio Falcone (Retired Technical Office of Nocera Inferiore).

CCA in mountains

No

Contacts of key institutional partners involved with the solution planning and implementation

Anna Scolobig, University of Geneva ([email protected])

Key references/links

Martin J., Linnerooth-Bayer J., Liu W., Scolobig A., Balsiger J. (2019), Nature based solutions in-depth case study analysis of the characteristics of successful governance models, Deliverable 5.1 of the PHUSICOS project, According to nature. Nature based solutions to reduce risks in mountain landscapes, EC H2020 Programme https://phusicos.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/D5_1_NBS-in-depth-case-study-analysis_Final.pdf 169 pp.

Martin J., Scolobig A., Bayer J., Wei L., Balsiger J. (2021), “Catalysing innovation: governance enablers of nature-based solutions”, Sustainability, 13(4), 1971; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041971

Scolobig A., Thompson M., Linnerooth-Bayer J. (2016), “Compromise not consensus. Designing a participatory process for landslide risk mitigation”, Natural Hazards 81 (1): 45-68. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11069-015-2078-y

Linnerooth-Bayer J., Scolobig A., Ferlisi S., Cascini L., Thompson M. (2016), “Expert engagement in participatory processes: translating stakeholder discourses into policy options”, Natural Hazards 81 (1): 69-88. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11069-015-1805-8

Scolobig A. (2016), “Stakeholders’ perspectives on barriers to landslide risk governance”, Natural Hazards 81 (1): 27-43. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11069-015-1787-6

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