Climate change is a pressing global issue that demands urgent action from both citizens and decision-makers. To tackle this challenge, the RethinkAction project aims to develop a user-friendly, cross-sectoral decision-making platform dedicated to the needs of different end-users. The main goal is to equip individuals with useful information on climate change and offer practical land-use based solutions for climate mitigation and adaptation. In this blog post, we will explore one of the case study regions of this project, the Southern Great Plain (SGP) region of Hungary.
Face-to-face meeting with local and regional stakeholders for the Hungarian case study of RethinkAction. Source: Geonardo
The SGP region is located in the southeast region of Hungary, between the Danube River, Serbia’s and Romania’s borders. The region holds strategic importance due to its lowland geography and its heavy reliance on agriculture for its economy. The region has been facing various challenges related to climate change and declining water resources, which have had a significant impact on its social, economic, and ecological systems.
Water management has emerged as one, if not the biggest challenge to be solved. Outdated and hard-engineered water management practices have resulted in a sharp decrease in wetland ecosystems and detrimental changes in river and soil characteristics. The region faces rapid depletion of groundwater resources, particularly during the summer months, and overexploitation by the agricultural sector make the situation even worse. These factors have led to water shortages, conflicts among water users, and decreased agricultural yields, impacting both the economy and ecosystems.
The social and institutional effects of these challenges are also significant. Ineffective institutional systems and infrastructure contribute to weak control mechanisms, further accelerating groundwater depletion. Land management practices that are not aligned with local water and soil characteristics have negative impacts on agricultural production and ecosystems alike. Additionally, restricted land ownership hinders sustainable management practices, leading to financial insecurity and distrust among locals.
To address these challenges, the project focuses on developing comprehensive Land-use based Adaptation and Mitigation Solutions (LAMS) that are tailor-made to the region’s specific needs.
At the early stages of the project, we organized a workshop to identify relevant stakeholders in the SGP region and understand their needs. Active participation in the workshop enabled the project team to gain a comprehensive understanding of the local context and the specific challenges faced in the region. This initial engagement with stakeholders laid the foundation for collaboration and ensured that the project’s efforts were aligned with the requirements of the area. In addition to stakeholder engagement, the project provided valuable data and information specific to the case study in Hungary. To further enhance the project’s impact, a thorough review of national and regional policies, strategies, and documents was conducted.
One of the crucial aspects of the project was the review and deployment of a Case Study (CS) survey. This survey aimed to analyse the synergies and trade-offs between different LAMS, ensuring a robust methodology for decision-making. The comprehensive survey enabled the project team to derive meaningful insights and make informed decisions regarding the most suitable LAMS specifically for the Hungarian case study. This way the project team ensured that the selected solutions would have a positive and lasting impact on the SGP region.
Moreover, the project dedicated efforts to the development of storylines for the Hungarian case study. Recognising the importance of effective communication, the project team crafted engaging narratives that conveyed the significance of the project’s findings and the urgency of addressing climate change in the SGP region. These storylines were designed to raise awareness, promote behavioural change, and mobilize support for sustainable land-use practices and climate resilience. Collaborating closely with partners, the project team reviewed and selected the most relevant Sectoral Impact Models and platforms that could accurately assess the sectoral impacts of the proposed solutions.
The achievements of the RethinkAction project in the SGP region encompassed a wide range of activities, from stakeholder engagement and data provision to methodology review, impact analysis, and dissemination efforts. The collaborative efforts with partners and stakeholders have yielded significant progress in advancing our understanding of Land use-based Adaptation and Mitigation Solutions in the Hungarian context. By addressing the challenges of climate change and water management in the SGP region, the project has contributed to sustainable and resilient development in the region.
The RethinkAction project’s dedication to empowering individuals and institutions with the right tools, knowledge, and solutions exemplifies the importance of cross-sectoral cooperation and collective action. By working together, we can build a more sustainable and climate-resilient future, not only in the SGP region but also globally. The lessons learned from the project’s endeavours in Hungary can serve as inspiration for similar initiatives worldwide, fostering a collective response to the urgent challenges posed by climate change.
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