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Global contaminated land management

Final Report Summary - GLOCOM (Global contaminated land management)

GLOCOM is an EU Marie Curie Staff Exchange Project, financed under the FP7 Programme, coordinated by Ca' Foscari University of Venice (UNIVE, Italy) and comprising other three partners: Umea University (UMU, Sweden), Beijing Normal University (BNU, P.R.China) and Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences (CRAES, P.R.China).
GLOCOM aimed at filling the gap in the systematic approach for the sustainable management of contaminated sites, integrating socio-economic analysis, risk assessment, and remediation technologies comparison.

Through know-how transfer, communication and expertise exchange between European and Chinese researchers, the project pursued the following objectives over its 4 years duration (Dec. 2011 – Nov. 2015):
(1) to carry out a comparison of regulatory and operational frameworks for the management of chemical substances and contaminated land and water resources in China, stimulating a regulatory and scientific harmonization process at international level;
(2) to conduct analysis and comparison of methodologies and tools for exposure and risk assessment in Europe and China, through the application of exposure and assessment models to selected case studies in Italy, Sweden and China;
(3) to advance the decision making on complex issues in contaminated land and water management through the development and application of tools for stakeholders involvement in environmental decision-making processes;
(4) to enhance the evaluation of environmental policies through sustainability impact assessment tools;
(5) to strengthen the quality of research by developing international collaborations;
(6) to trigger constructive collaborations for future research projects.

Since the beginning of the project, the following work has been performed, leading to the achievement of substantial results, both in terms of a) Project Exchange and Knowledge Transfer Activities and b) Project Scientific Activities:

1) Exchange of personnel
A total of ca. 60 researchers affiliated to the 4 partners involved in the consortium took part in staff exchange activities over the four years of the project.

2) Training Sessions
More than 60 training sessions on scientific and technical aspects pertinent to the project were held and/or attended by seconded researchers in China, Sweden, and Italy.

3) International Workshop
Scientific results were disseminated through the organization of three international workshops between November 2011 and November 2015. The first international workshop was held in the framework of the “First International Conference on Environmental Safety and Ecological Criteria” (ICESEC 2013). The event took place on June 30-July 1, 2013 in Nanjing (P.R.China). The conference was hosted by the Chinese Society of Toxicology, the Chinese Society for Environmental Sciences, and the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences (CRAES). Beside GLOCOM project, other co-organizers included the Asia-Pacific Unit of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). In 2014, GLOCOM project co-organized the 4th International Conference on Managing Urban Land, titled “CABERNET 2014. Tailored & Sustainable Redevelopment Towards Zero Brownfields”, held in Frankfurt Am Main (Germany) October 14-16, 2014. The conference was organized by the EU-FP7 Project “HOMBRE”, in cooperation with the EU-FP7 Projects “GLOCOM”, “Greenland” and “TIMBRE”. The final international workshop was held on September 2, 2015, hosted by CRAES (Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences) in Beijing (China). The Conference, titled “Common Understanding of Environmental Pollution: Challenges & Perspectives for EU-China Cooperation”, provided a unique opportunity to bring together many of the researchers involved in the scientific exchange throughout the project duration, further sharing the results of the scientific collaboration, and discussing possible opportunities to continue the cooperation in the future.

4) Other Activities
Roughly 29 presentations developed in the framework of project’s activities were delivered in workshop/conferences external to GLOCOM project. One additional workshop was co-organized by GLOCOM in China, in cooperation with the Tianjin Academy of Environmental Sciences. During their secondments, researchers also took part to several lectures, 2 Summer Schools, and ca. 10 conferences external to GLOCOM. One seconded researcher spent an additional week-long training as visiting Phd student in a research institute external to GLOCOM consortium. Moreover 18 site visits were realized in China, Italy and Sweden.

1) Case Studies

By November 2015, 17 case studies were identified and analyzed. Issues targeted by case studies include risk assessment approaches for the remediation of contaminated sites, analysis of human health exposure to contaminants, water quality assessment, effect characterization of new emerging pollutants, sustainability impact assessment of urban water management etc.

2) Publications
So far, 13 collaborative papers produced by GLOCOM researchers have been published in international, peer-reviewed journals. See the website for the complete list of publications. 10 articles have been submitted to international, peer-reviewed journals. An estimated 13 manuscripts are now under preparation and will be submitted in the following months to international journals.

The project has contributed to the harmonization of international standards for risk assessment and management for contaminated sites, while taking into consideration EU and Chinese respective peculiarities. A significant number of case studies have been analyzed, often with a comparative perspective, providing new insight into each partner’s respective field of expertise. Through the development and application of tools for stakeholders involvement in environmental decision-making processes, the project has also contributed to the advancement of the decision making on complex issues and emerging challenges, such as sustainability issues and climate change impact on contaminated sites. This is particularly relevant, especially given the growing importance attributed in recent years by Chinese government authorities to issues of pollution remediation. GLOCOM has also provided a highly effective platform to trigger constructive cooperation in the future among project partners: thanks to the synergy established in the consortium, new venues for collaboration are now being explored, and will eventually lead to further exchanges.
In terms of socio-economic impact, it must be remarked that case studies carried out through the project, besides constituting an ideal tool for mutual transfer of knowledge and expertise, could support national and local authorities in properly assessing and tackling local pollution issues, eventually yielding positive consequences on the lives of affected populations.