Straight to content

Building with Nature programme in Indonesia wins international Flood & Coast Excellence award

Published on:
  • Aquaculture, fisheries and coastal agriculture
  • Coastal resilience
  • Coastal wetland conservation
  • Integrated delta management

Our programme in Northern Java, Indonesia to stop coastal erosion through Building with Nature has won the prestigious Flood & Coast Excellence Award yesterday in the UK. This annual award celebrates projects that set the standard for how to manage flood and coastal risk in the future in response to the climate and ecological emergency. As we approach the COP26 climate change summit in November 2021 in Glasgow, this award gives an important recognition of how Building with Nature can help to accelerate global adaptation to water and climate change.

The project which brings the massive coastal erosion in Northern Java to a halt and stimulates the natural re-growth of the mangrove greenbelt and recovery of the local economy, won the Award in two categories: ‘Coastal Management’ and ‘International Excellence’.

The winning projects demonstrate examples of what is possible when applying teamwork, creativity and professionalism to meet the challenges we face across the flood and coastal erosion risk management sector.

Catherine Wright, Director of Flood and Coast Risk Management at the Environment Agency: “The judges selected Building with Nature Indonesia as the winner as they could see that it is a very powerful example of how nature-based solutions have been integrated within coastal zone management and its applicability to other vulnerable coastlines in Indonesia and beyond. The way of life of the local community and their involvement was clearly visible in every stage, from design to the construction and the long-term management of the coastline. The whole approach demonstrated a wide range of benefits, economic, social and environmental. A truly sustainable approach which will ensure that communities are better adapted to climate change.”

Carline Douglas, Director of Incidence Management and Resilience at the Environment Agency: “The judges were inspired by the truly international effort and the potential applicability of this blue infrastructure approach to other vulnerable coastlines in Indonesia and worldwide. It was also great to see how the training approach and embedding the concepts in policy has helped make replication in other areas possible. We hope to start seeing more innovative nature-based solutions like this on an international scale.”

Receiving this recognition as international inspiration for flood and coastal management is a great honour for the Indonesian-international project consortium, managed by the Indonesian ministries of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) and Public Works and Housing (PU-PR), Wetlands International and EcoShape. The team recently celebrated 5 years of Building with Nature in Indonesia to share their results and lessons learnt.

Jane Madgwick, CEO Wetlands International: “We are so proud of our team and the international and Indonesian partnership who designed and made this happen! The project is giving hope for people along all vulnerable coasts”.

Since the last decade coastal communities in Northern Java suffer from flood risk and erosion, declining aquaculture productivity. Entire villages were evacuated as houses inundated. To reverse the erosion of the mangrove-mud coasts, the consortium, funded by the Netherlands and Germany, built 9 kilometres of permeable structures to restore the sediment dynamics and enable mangrove recovery. Sustainable aquaculture practices were introduced in around 400 hectares through coastal field schools that tripled local incomes. And damaged ponds were converted back to mangrove. The government already replicated the permeable structures in 13 districts across Indonesia.

@Yus Rusila Noor, Wetlands International


The project in Indonesia is the largest and most far reaching pilot of EcoShape, the public private innovation programme Building with Nature, which pioneers the integration of nature-based solutions into water related infrastructure.

To scale up Building with Nature solutions in Asia to address water infrastructure and climate adaptation challenges, the Building with Nature Asia initiative is being developed by Wetlands International in collaboration with MMAF, EcoShape, One Architecture and the Global Centre on Adaptation, partnering up with Indonesia, Philippines, India, Malaysia and China. The initiative will be presented during the Climate Adaptation Summit 2021.


Building with Nature Indonesia is a programme managed Wetlands InternationalEcoshape, the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), and the Indonesian Ministry of Public Works and Housing (PUPR), in partnership with Witteveen+Bos, Deltares, Wageningen University & ResearchUNESCO-IHETU DelftBlue ForestsVon Lieberman and Kota Kita, with support from the Diponegoro University, and local communities.

The programme is supported by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) as part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI), Waterloo Foundation, Otter Foundation and Topconsortia for Knowledge and Innovation.