The project is structured in seven work packages (WPs):
Coordination and Management
The overall objective of WP1 is to ensure the efficient and timely implementation of project activities, resource allocation, and measures, to maximize project benefits. It does so by managing the Project at 4 levels: (a) Data Management Plan that includes all WP data requirements, relevant Pilot Area data availability, and all REACT4MED products (data, software, publications, etc.), (b) Strategic management: Stakeholder involvement; coordination of the Science and Innovation Advisory Board; Strategic decision making about the evolution and exposure of the Project; Maintaining and exploiting links with (inter)national programs and projects; (c) Operational management: Internal communication, meetings and facilitation of partner collaboration; Legal affairs; Communication and reporting to PRIMA-IS; Data management; Quality assurance; (d) Risk management: Guarding progress and budget; Organizing and processing external review; Implementing a Risk contingency plan.
Establishing the baseline
The main objectives of WP2 are to: (a) define, collect, and review background biophysical and socio-economic information from previous relevant projects and the literature into a state of the art body of knowledge, also defining a first draft of candidate Sustainable Land and Water Management (SLWM) assessment indicators (b) to collect best agro-ecological restoration technologies and approaches from existing SLWM databases, (c) to conduct a meta-analysis of key variables for restoration success and (d) to provide a historical perspective of ecosystem changes in the Mediterranean in relation to climate and human activities. Where possible, WP2 will produce new knowledge and update existing SLWM databases with new restoration practices.
Ecosystem Restoration Living Labs
Using a multi-actor approach, WP3 will ensure the involvement of key stakeholders, including practitioners and decision-makers at different levels. In WP3, the Ecosystem Restoration Living Labs (ERLLs) will be established to act as a platform for interaction of stakeholders with project partners for the purpose of communication, learning, demonstration of implementation of cost-effective good practices and approaches for land, water, and agro-ecosystem restoration for eventual upscaling and outscaling. The ERLLs for each of the Pilot Areas and those actors involved will act as an incubator for testing the effectiveness and eventual transferability of good practices to other areas. WP3 will develop and apply a participatory approach to involve stakeholders from the start, to enhance the relevance of the knowledge in the project for local conditions, and to feed what is gathered and assessed in the Pilot Areas into WP 4, 5, and 6. Special attention will be given to ensuring diversity in stakeholder engagement, in particular encouraging participation by women and the next generation of practitioners
Pilot Area Implementation and Assessment
WP4 will develop LanDS, a science-based Land degradation Decision-Support Toolbox targeted to support project participants (partners, stakeholders, and policy makers), by providing a safe and effective georeferenced repository to store, share and reuse data collected by the 8 Pilot Areas and respective ERLLs, and by implementing indicators to assess land restoration measures impacts across different geographic areas. Combining knowledge and expertise coming from ERLLs, LanDS will elaborate procedures to identify critical areas in terms of land degradation in the Mediterranean at different temporal scales, where to focus up or out-scaling of restoration measures, exploring future climate and socio-economic scenarios. A web dashboard, specifically addressed to decision makers, will be published to share LanDS outcomes and support assessment and policy recommendation activities.
Ecosystem Restoration Living Labs
Lead: CIHEAM Bari
WP5 will implement restoration outscaling actions in the 8 PAs and assess cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness relations. Effectiveness of land restoration actions will be assessed at two levels. In a top-down approach (in collaboration with WP2), broad scale indicators will be adapted to assess the effectiveness and impacts of past/ongoing projects implemented in the PAs. In a bottom-up approach, indicators and metrics will be co-developed (WP3) and formalized in the LanDS (WP4) to assess the impacts of new restoration actions. WP5 will test, evaluate, and establish a monitoring system for long-term sustainability assessment of the project results.
WP6 will build on the output of previous WPs to identify gaps in the implementation of existing land restoration and development policy measures at national and regional levels with respect to international agendas (e.g., EU Green Deal targets and SDGs), and will deliver the results and policy implications of the SME practices assessed during REACT4MED to the policy community. To achieve this, WP6 will first conduct a policy review largely within the ERLL context (WP3) to assess the level of integration with international agendas (i.e., SDGs), and the suitability with respect to the land degradation problems faced in the Pilot Areas. Policymakers and advisors will be introduced to the tools, practices and processes developed by REACT4MED, and supported in exploring how they can make use of the processes and tools generated by the project when setting policies and strategies. Case specific socioeconomic analysis (WP5) and the policy recommendations will be discussed and improved in a dedicated ERLL workshop (Task 3.4) as well as smaller (bilateral) meetings with experts. Policy recommendations (e.g., selection of an appropriate mix of policy measures for promoting the uptake of the restoration actions, the targeting of policy measures, i.e., mandatory, incentive, awareness-raising as well as the monitoring, enforcement, and evaluation of policies) will provide support to decision-makers at local and regional levels to better address policy and governance issues to cope with land degradation and desertification challenges and help them in planning the implementation of the proposed restoration actions. A cross-cutting policy activity will be undertaken across the Pilot Areas to produce a policy and stakeholder map and analysis report identifying overlaps and common interests where they exist. A final task will engage with policymakers at the national and wider levels including EU, to support the creation of policies and strategies that can promote the best use of restoration measures for adaptation planning and mitigation.
Dissemination, Communication and Capitalization
The objectives of WP7 are (a) to implement advanced and easily accessible dissemination and communication tools, (b) to develop a concrete strategy based on specified goals and objectives to raise the visibility of the project and to ensure project results reach the intended target audience, (c) to produce material based on the output of other WPs for use both within and outside the project, (d) to oversee dissemination of produced material in the widest and most open way, and (e) to ensuring the further exploitation of project outcomes after the lifetime of REACT4MED.