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EuroMED Cooperation. Inland and Marine Water Challenges

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EuroMED-IMWC (EuroMED Cooperation. Inland and Marine Water Challenges)

Reporting period: 2014-07-01 to 2014-12-31

The EuroMED-IMWC Project targets the international cooperation in research and innovation on activities related to the connection beetween inland and marine water issues. Its main objective is the organization and follow-on of the Conference ‘EuroMED cooperation. Inland and Marine Water Challenges’.
The Mediterranean Region is characterized by important feedbacks between human activities and natural processes occurring in upstream river basins and those of the downstream coastal zones, where anthropic and environmental aspects are crucially related. Considering how strongly this mechanism impacts some of the key economic drivers of the Mediterranean area such as fishery, aquaculture and tourism, strategic measures have to be jointly devised and adopted for a sustainable inland and marine water management. Moreover, the geo-political complexity of the area calls for policy efforts towards the efficient connection of different priorities of the Mediterranean countries and actors.
The United Nations Environment Programme Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP) for the Barcelona Convention and the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) - EC COM (2011)200 and EC COM (2011)303 - recognizes the importance of cooperating at international level, as also stated in the conclusions of the Barcelona Euro-Mediterranean Conference on Research and Innovation (April 2012). Besides opening the participation of entities from the whole world to the EU Framework Programme on Research and Innovation, the European Commission (EC) adopted a Strategy on International Cooperation targeting the countries of the European Neighborhood for specific attention (COM(2012) 497). To effectively take advantage of the initiatives already implemented, avoid fragmentation and achieve a sustainable development of the Mediterranean region, innovative long terms initiatives are required.
Within this framework, the National Research Council of Italy - Department of Earth System Science and Environmental Technology (CNR-DTA), under the Italian Presidency of the European Council of the EU with support from the EC - Directorate General for Research and Innovation organizes the EuroMED-IMWC organized the Naples Conference, bringing together scientists and policy makers from EU and non-EU countries to address the overarching question ‘How is it possible to enhance international cooperation on inland and marine water management?’.
Among the overall objectives of the action: to support the Italian Presidency of the EU in addressing relevant priorities of the political debate in the Mediterranean Area; to offer relevant stakeholders from EU and non-EU countries the unique opportunity to discuss and propose ways for tackling the socio-economic challenges associated to the links between inland and marine waters in the Mediterranean Area; to envision the most suitable process that possibly brings to the setting of the concerned governance framework; to address a timely message to the relevant stakeholders on the essential role of the inland and marine waters for the blue and green growth of the Mediterranean countries in the framework on EU/non-EU cooperation. At more focused level, the conference aimed to take stock of ongoing initiatives, identify gaps and ways forward, enhance exchanges between researchers from European and the South Mediterranean countries, strengthen the links between research and policymaking.
An intense preparation and follow-up work has been carried out through all the six months of the Project with the support of the Scientific and Organizing Committee that provided relevant advices on scientific, technical and logistics aspect. Main tasks included: the identification of relevant themes; drafting and consolidation of the programme together with the identification and invitation of high-level speakers (balancing country representation, field of expertise and gender); management of the logistic aspects.
The Conference took place in Naples on 3-4 November 2014 with the participation of about 140 researchers and policymakers from the whole Mediterranean region: four parallel workshops on the first day addressed the following themes: (i) the water resources and land management impacts on inland and sea water in the Mediterranean Region; (ii) a Mediterranean integrated ocean observing system to support sustainable coastal and marine tourism; (iii) building an ecosystem based approach to fishery and aquaculture in the Mediterranean; (iv) the Ecosystem Based Management in the Mediterranean Region. The plenary session offered a broader overview of the scene, from the historical and forward looking dimension perspective, and considering the on-going initiatives at EU and Med level represented in the round table discussion on ‘Integrated Med policy and science strategy for tackling the socio-economic challenges linked to the Mediterranean Inland and Marine Water’. The main outcome of the project has been the publication of the Naples Conference Report, collecting the outputs of the Conference.
The project and the event itself have been accompanied by suitable communication and dissemination activities, including the release of a website and a Twitter channel, and the spreading of relevant information via a dedicated mailing list. A particular attention has been given to Arabic and francophone communities with the presence of interpreters and dedicated translations of the Executive Summary of the final report.
The Conference allowed different communities (until now too separated) to meet, discuss and explore ways to build collaborations. Among the specific achievements: taking stock of current research and innovation, identifying knowledge gaps and relate them to policy making at local, national and transnational level, considering both the commonalities and diversities of ecological and socio-economic factors in the Mediterranean region. Recognizing that the links between inland and marine water systems, with particular regard to the impact on sustainable exploitation of key natural resources for human and economic activities, is a theme that deserves further exploration, the Naples Conference Report provided a knowledge input to the possible design of future research and policymaking. In the framework of international and EU policies addressing the Mediterranean Region, the outcomes of the EuroMED-IMWC Project could therefore impact the planning and implementation of a joint durable strategy for the sustainable management of inland and marine water as preliminary ways forward to a common Mediterranean integrated Policy. More attention needs to be given to the social, economic, institutional and environmental aspects in inland and marine water and management with a long term perspective. A methodological step to the ‘green transition’ towards a Euro-Med Economic Area focused on environmental and socio-economic adaptation strategy and partnership has been achieved.
Cover of the EuroMED-IMWC Conference Report
EuroMED-IMWC Conference. Roundtable discussion during the Plenary Session
EuroMED-IMWC Conference. Opening of the Plenary Session
EuroMED-IMWC Conference Flyer
Opening of the EuroMED-IMWC Conference
EuroMED-IMWC Conference. Report from the Workshops during the Plenary SessionSession
EuroMED-IMWC Banner