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Presentation of our project at the LIFE IP CleanEST conference in Narva, Estonia

On October 25-26th 2023, the LIFE IP CleanEST (LIFE17 IPE/EE/000007) conference was held in Narva, Estonia, in which representing the project, Bettina Lilla Hugyecz and Dalma Erzsébet Varga participated. Presenters from about 15 countries came to the conference, who gave their presentations on the topic of sustainability and innovation, and presented the results and experiences of their projects related to water management.


The conference took place in the ceremonial hall of Narva Town Hall

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On the first day of the conference, we had the opportunity to get to know several interesting presentations. The conference was opened by Jaan Toots, the mayor of the city, Kaupo Läänerand, the deputy state secretary of the Estonian Ministry of Climate, and Mari Sepp, the project manager of the LIFE IP CleanEST project greeted the participants, who was also present on behalf of the Ministry of Climate.


Mari Sepp, project manager of LIFE IP CleanEST project

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The first presentation was held by Veronica Manfredi on behalf of the European Comission. In her presentation, she highlighted the importance of the fact that it is up to us what kind of future we choose for ourselves and that we have to do something about it – referring to the important role of environment protection and emphasizing the usefulness and necessity of LIFE projects.

After the keynote presentation and the greetings, series of presentations were organized into three thematic groups in the following categories:

  • the modernization of water management with the help of digital innovation.
    • in the presentations, the presenters emphasized the tools and opportunities of digitalization, with which the organizational and territorial regulation of water management, forecasts and the efficiency of responses and reactions to the environmental challenges can be increased
  • Funding opportunities in water management
    • in this group, the presenters mainly discussed the ways and possibilities of financing water management and water-related research works, projects, illustrating them through their own examples
  • the role of the water within environmental education
    • the presentations of the last group drew attention to the importance of environmental education and the cooperation between different sectors


Panel discussion after the session focused on the modernization of water management through digital innovation

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At the end of each thematic group panel discussions took place, in which the most important questions and suggestions related to the given topic were discussed by the participants and the presenters. During the coffee and lunch breaks held between the presentations, there was an opportunity to build relationships, talk to the presenters, and share the experiences of project implementations with each other.


Presentation of AHHAA Science Theatre

Photo made by: Bettina Lilla Hugyecz

Before the lunch break, a special, interactive presentation was included in the programme, in which a member of the “science theatre” called AHHAA gave a spectacular demonstration about water and its various features. In the afternoon, participants could get to know new knowledge and information from the presentations held under the session entitled “Water in Environmental Education: Information and Awareness”, which was followed by a panel discussion. The first day ended with the summary thoughts of Karin Kroon, Head of Water Department at the Estonian Ministry of Climate.

On the second day of the conference, the presentations were grouped thematically into 4 workshops. Presenters came from 15 countries, who mainly gave a brief overview of the results of the projects implemented in their own countries.


Dalma Erzsébet Varga and Olav Ojala, the moderator of the workshop entitled “Nature-based solutions in water management”

Photo made by Bettina Lilla Hugyecz

The topic of the first workshop focused on exploring the adaptation possibilities of nature-based solutions in water management. In the framework of this workshop, the adaptation, usability and replicability of natural water retention measures developed within the LIFE LOGOS 4 WATERS and the previous LIFE-MICACC projects were presented, as well as the experiences and results of the implementation of these projects were showed briefly to the audience


Dalma Erzsébet Varga gave a presentation on the LIFE-MICACC and LIFE LOGOS 4 WATERS projects in the workshop entitled „Nature-based solutions in water management”

Photo made by: Bettina Lilla Hugyecz

In the first workshop, we could also hear English and Estonian examples of the implementation possibilities of nature-based solutions at settlement level, and at the end of the presentations we could also participate in an interactive modelling, during which we could create so-called "plant cassettes" that can be located in lakes and small water surfaces.


Teamwork at the end of the NBS workshop

Photo made by: Bettina Lilla Hugyecz

In the second workshop, the topic of ecological permeability – named also as landscape connectivity – caused by dams was in focus, in the third group environmental and awareness-raising were the common thoughts of the presentations, while in the fourth workshop the role of implementation and coordination of water management plans gave the basis of the presentations. The workhops took place side by side in parallel sessions during the morning.



Field trip to the rehabilitated oil shale mining area

Photo made by: Bettina Lilla Hugyecz

The presentations of the second day were followed by a short summary and the closing of the conference, and after the lunch, the participants could take part in a field trip based on prior registrations. One of the tours led to an abandoned and partly rehabilitated mining area, where we discovered the natural beauties of the region and the process of transforming artificial surface created as a result of human impacts into close to nature state. The other group visited a local fish farm where fish to be returned into rivers are raised and cared for.


Spreading of our English-language project flyers at the conference

Photo made by: Bettina Lilla Hugyecz

The conference provided an excellent opportunity to present our LIFE-MICACC and LIFE LOGOS 4 WATERS projects on an international level and to disseminate our results, as well as it gave an opportunity to get to know nature-based solutions of other countries, to exchange experiences, and to build relationships with other LIFE projects. In terms of creating a sustainable future, we were able to get to know very forward-looking initiatives, and we also gained some insight into innovative solutions and research works, which adaptation could even be imagined at  Hungarian level.

The presentations of the conference are available at this link, and Dalma Erzsébet Varga’s presentation entitled “Climate adaptation with natural water retention measures at local and regional level – experiences of the LIFE-MICACC and LIFE LOGOS 4 WATERS projects” can be also found within the Documents on the website.


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