The Eddleston Water project, Tweed Forum and Scottish Government's long-running empirical study of the effectiveness of Natural Flood Management (NFM) has just been designated by UNESCO as one of their new Ecohydrology Demonstration sites, becoming the first one in the UK to achieve this recognition. The project is in its 13th year of operation and will now be included as a Demonstration Site in the UNESCO Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme (IHP), part of the intergovernmental UN system that’s dedicated to water research and management with the aim of enabling the creation of policies that achieve water quality improvement, biodiversity enhancement and sustainable development.
Funded by the Scottish Government, EU Interreg and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and delivered in collaboration with the University of Dundee, British Geological Services, local farmers and the surrounding community, the Eddleston Water Project is a living laboratory that is collecting evidence of the benefits of Natural Flood Management techniques as it refers to reducing flood risk and improving riparian habitats.
Mairi McAllan, Scottish Government Minister for Environment and Land Reform said: “I am delighted that the Eddleston Natural Flood Management project, which is supported by the Scottish Government, has been recognised by UNESCO and is now included as a demonstration site in the UNESCO Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme. This work shows the importance of natural flood management in reducing the risk from flooding downstream, as well as creating better habitats for many species. The UNESCO designation is a great opportunity for others, both in Scotland and internationally, to learn from the project. I would like to thank the team and the local community for the commitment they have shown in taking this forward.”
This is the second time that Tweed Forum’s work has been recognised by UNESCO. In 2009, the charity’s Catchment Management Planning initiative, which aims to protect, enhance and restore the total river environment, was recognised for its standard-setting work by the UNESCO HELP river basin management programme, of which Tweed Forum is now a member.