Paramaribo, Suriname
City population: 240924
Duration: 2016 – ongoing
Implementation status: Ongoing
Scale: Micro-scale: District/neighbourhood level
Project area: unknown
Type of area: Agricultural area, Other
Last updated: April 2022

Extensive and low-lying, Suriname’s coastal region has been identified as highly vulnerable to climate-induced sea-level rise (Ref. 1). "Momentarily the most endangered community by sea-level rise in the whole of South America and the Caribbean", the Suriname Building With Nature project has seen "wooden, water penetrable dams...being built to trap sediment and replant mangroves" (Ref. 1). Prior to the implementation of the Building With Nature project, no mitigation measures had been undertaken to protect the area, and "human interference ha[d] converted mangrove areas to agricultural land, fishing ponds and settlements", with the loss of stabilisation provided by the mangroves meaning that "the coast has become susceptible to flooding and erosion, losing up to 27 meters of land in one year" (Ref. 1). It has caused "displacement of local habitants and loss of livelihoods, [with]...the local population...and its fisheries, farms, and important religious and cultural sites [being] at risk to frequent flooding and land degradation" (Ref. 1). The Building With Nature approach is touted as being "essential for mangrove and biodiversity conservation and the enhancement of the quantity of the blue carbon sequestered in coastal areas" (Ref. 2).

Mangrove saplings
https://www.conservation.org/suriname/programs/building-with-nature

Overview

Nature-based solution

  • Blue infrastructure
  • Deltas
  • Coastlines
  • Mangroves

Key challenges

  • Climate action for adaptation, resilience and mitigation (SDG 13)
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Climate change mitigation
  • Coastal resilience and marine protection (SDG 14)
  • Coastal protection
  • Marine and biodiversity protection
  • Marine and coastal research and/or education
  • Environmental quality
  • Soil quality improvement
  • Green space, habitats and biodiversity (SDG 15)
  • Habitat and biodiversity restoration
  • Habitat and biodiversity conservation
  • Water management (SDG 6)
  • Flood protection
  • Cultural heritage and cultural diversity
  • Protection of historic and cultural landscape/infrastructure
  • Social justice, cohesion and equity (SDG 10)
  • Environmental education
  • Economic development and employment (SDG 8)
  • Economic development: agriculture

Focus

Coastal landscape management or protection, Ecological restoration of degraded ecosystems, Protection of natural ecosystems, Knowledge creation and awareness raising

Project objectives

Due to "human interference ha[ving] converted mangrove areas to agricultural land, fishing ponds and settlements", the loss of stabilisation provided by the mangroves means that "the coast has become susceptible to flooding and erosion, losing up to 27 meters of land in one year" (Ref. 1). It has caused "displacement of local habitants and loss of livelihoods, [with]...the local population...and its fisheries, farms, and important religious and cultural sites [being] at risk to frequent flooding and land degradation" (Ref. 1). The Building With Nature Mangrove Rehabilitation project therefore sought to assemble Sediment Trapping Units (STUs) at the coast of Weg naar Zee, thereby "reduce[ing] the force of incoming waves and stimulat[ing] the deposition of sediments" (Ref. 2), "with the ultimate goal of stopping land degradation using ecosystem-based adaptation techniques" (Ref. 1).

Implementation activities

Through the construction of STUs, sediment is being trapped and allowing for the replanting of mangroves (Ref. 1). As summarised by Ref. 5, "technical measures include sediment balance restoration by permeable dams and mud nourishments, alongside mangrove rehabilitation. Socio-economic measures are currently being developed". Through restoration of previously degraded mangrove habitat (Ref. 1), the project promotes the "provision of ecological functions and services such as shoreline protection against erosion, provision of spawning zones for marine wildlife, nurseries for coastal fisheries and habitat for migratory birds", and also aids climate change mitigation and adaptation since mangroves "capture great amounts of blue carbon and are effective in protecting the low-lying coastal strips from storm surges" (Ref. 2). In addition to reducing erosion of both arable land and sites of religious importance, the project also reduces salinisation of arable land, where "productive activities such as agriculture are already suffering the severe impacts from erosion and flooding events" (Ref. 2). Through "capacity building and public awareness, the communities of Weg naar Zee and surrounding areas will learn about mangrove restoration and maintenance, and the benefits the human population derive from ecosystem restoration projects. Scientific research will also be conducted with the objectives of improving understanding of the biophysical and socio-economic conditions of the changing coastal landscape and developing research products to inform future nature-based adaptation initiatives" (Ref. 1).

Climate-focused activities

Climate change adaptation:

  • Protect coastal ecosystems to prevent coastal erosion and pollution
  • Restore wetlands and/or coastal ecosystems to dissipate the effects of flooding and/or storms

Climate change mitigation:

  • Increase green urban nature for carbon storage (wetlands, tree cover)

Biodiversity conservation or restoration-focused activities

Biodiversity conservation:

  • Protect and enhance urban habitats
  • Preserve and strengthen existing habitats and ecosystems
  • Protect species
  • Undertake specific measures to protect species
  • Means for conservation governance
  • Protect and apply traditional knowledge and conservation practices

Biodiversity restoration:

  • Rehabilitate and restore damaged or destroyed ecosystems
  • Restore species (native, endangered, or unspecified)
  • Restore native species
  • Public engagement

Main beneficiaries

  • Citizens or community groups
  • Food producers and cultivators (i.e. farmers, gardeners)

Governance

Management set-up

  • Led by non-government actors

Type of initiating organisation

  • Researchers/university

Participatory approaches/ community involvement

  • Dissemination of information and education

Details on the roles of the organisations involved in the project

Professor Naipal of the Anton de Kom University of Suriname first began the project, which has since gained support from Conservation International Suriname, local donors, and the Dutch Embassy and Staatsolie Foundation (Ref. 1; Ref. 3). Through its local business-funding programme, Friends of Green Suriname, Conservation International Suriname "funded the initial USD 15,000 to build one wooden dam", and during the process "...reached out to Wetlands International for knowledge sharing and synchronizing monitoring protocols" (Ref. 1).

Project implemented in response to ...

... an EU policy or strategy? No
... a national policy or strategy? No
... a local policy or strategy? No

Financing

Total cost

€100,000 - €500,000

Source(s) of funding

  • Corporate investment
  • Funds provided by non-governmental organization (NGO)
  • Private Foundation/Trust

Type of funding

  • Donations

Non-financial contribution

Unknown

Impacts and Monitoring

Environmental impacts

  • Climate, energy and emissions
  • Increased protection against sea level rise
  • Strengthened capacity to address climate hazards/natural disasters
  • Enhanced carbon sequestration
  • Environmental quality
  • Improved soil quality
  • Water management and blue areas
  • Increased protection against flooding
  • Enhanced protection and restoration of coastal and marine ecosystems
  • Green space and habitat
  • Increased conservation or restoration of ecosystems
  • Reduced biodiversity loss
  • Increased number of species present

Economic impacts

  • Increase in agricultural production (for profit or not)

Socio-cultural impacts

  • Safety
  • Improved community safety to climate-related hazards
  • Social justice and cohesion
  • Increased access to healthy/affordable food
  • Increased sustainability of agriculture practices
  • Cultural heritage and sense of place
  • Protection of historic and cultural landscape / infrastructure
  • Education
  • Increased support for education and scientific research
  • Increased knowledge of locals about local nature
  • Increased awareness of NBS and their benefits

Type of reported impacts

Expected impacts, Achieved impacts

Presence of formal monitoring system

Unknown

Presence of indicators used in reporting

No evidence in public records

Presence of monitoring/ evaluation reports

No evidence in public records

Availability of a web-based monitoring tool

No

References

Sediment Trapping Units
https://www.wetlands.org/blog/building-with-nature-concept-successfully-introduced-in-suriname/
Construction of Sediment Trapping Unit
https://panorama.solutions/en/solution/building-nature-safe-prosperous-and-adaptive-coastlines-suriname
Information about this nature-based solution was collected as part of the UNA global extension project funded by the British Academy.