Degraded land: How to achieve an added value by land stewardship? Create public values, restore degraded land: a collective responsibility.

Degraded land: How to achieve an added value by land stewardship? Create public values, restore degraded land: a collective responsibility.

Conveners: Conveners: Margot de Cleen and Co Molenaar

Over the last year the Common Forum network on contaminated land (CF) and the Network for Industrially coordinated sustainable Land Management in Europe (NICOLE) have worked on the concept of Land Stewardship. CF regards Land Stewardship as a promising tool to initiate the restoration of diffuse contaminated and degraded land, NICOLE mainly aims at optimizing the natural and social value of industrial land. The common aim however is very clear. In the proposed workshop in short pitches and open discussions, we want to raise awareness of the possibilities for value creation and create insight into the needs, options, roles, challenges and barriers to Land Stewardship.

The United Nations are concerned about the availability of sufficient healthy land to feed the world and fulfil the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The soil and water system is essential in achieving these goals, and therefore land restoration and Land Degradation Neutrality are part of SDG 15.3. “No net land take” implies we need to restore degraded land and give land multiple functions. At the same time industry faces the challenge to combine industrial use with the circular economy and deals with legacies from the past, including both local and diffuse contamination.

In May 2018 the Global Soil Partnership organized a Conference on Soil Pollution under the title “be the solution to soil pollution”. It became clear that especially diffuse contamination is a world-wide challenge: it is not feasible to remediate diffuse pollution in the usual way. We have to find a solution in management and adding value by different forms of use. We think land stewardship can be an instrument to add value to degraded land and at the same time help to implement the SDGs. In addition to this we expect that the efficient use of land can contribute to its natural and social value for society and can be a trigger for restoration.

(Diffuse) contaminated land is considered to lack value. This degraded land will not be restored if the value of the land and its soil services are not recognized. Therefore, the challenge is to upgrade the value of degraded land by identifying new business models. Land often is privately owned. The added value often has to be gained for public goals such as climate adaptation, sustainable energy production or biomass production, but for example can also be achieved by visualizing the recreational value or upgrade of neighbourhoods. To achieve public values not only cooperation is necessary but also a collective responsibility. This asks for awareness and a change in mind-set.

Draft Program

  • Introduction Sustainable Development Goals can only be achieved by system transformation, new policy arrangements and business models are needed
  • Presentation Creating public values, restoring degraded land; Margot de Cleen CF/Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management
  • Presentation land stewardship on industrial land; Hans Slenders NICOLE/Arcadis
  • Group discussions based on 4 cases:
    • Diffuse contamination in River basins
    • Diffuse contamination in agricultural areas
    • Landfills/Brownfields
    • LS driver for management of Industrial Land