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Relating research and policy in formulating and implementing environmental policies for combatting land degradation and desertification in the Mediterranean basin


Desertification and land degradation are widespread in Southern Europe, and the total surface involved is presently increasing.
Climate change, and particularly any increase in average temperature and a shift in precipitation patterns, would probably accelerate that process many times. In the struggle land degradation and desertification, the major increases in our understanding of human-environmental relationships which have been achieved in the last fifteen years will be have to be mobilised to solve some of the many environmental problems which citizens of the Mediterranean Rim are experiencing. At present, there are still a number of obstacles in the way of an optimal use of the knowledge gathered. It is the contention of the authors of this proposal that the difficulties are in part due to the nature of the relationship between research and policy, and that a better mutual understanding between the two communities involved will have positive effects on the success rate. For this purpose, we propose in a Concerted Action to bring together a small mixed group of experts from the EU research community on land degradation and desertification with some members of the policy-making and -implementation community, as well as with experts from the policy research and sceince policy communities. This group will
1. identify issues and problems which render the generalisation of scientific observations, as well as the application and administration of policies, difficult and
2. investigate a number of substantive issues, such as the respective roles of policy and research, ways to improve their interaction, ways to write and implement policies which build on it, and ways to build a lasting bridge between the research and policy communities.
The interaction will be organized in three "tasks":
Task 1: The interface between the geosphere/biosphere and its end-users
Task 2: The interface between end-users and regional/local authorities
Task 3: The interface between regional/local authorities ans national/EU authorities
Each task consists of the organisation of a fruitful interaction beween the different kinds of experts concerned, which aims at inventorying
1. crucial issues at that level,
2. ways to formulate them,
3. the contribution of research to date (what policy-relevant research exists ?)
4. science policy, i.e. directions for future research, for example concerning the relation between existing policies ans their
perception by end-users,
5. ways to best focus such research, with particular attention to interdisciplinary interaction,
6. ways to integrate the results into policy decisions (the
construction of substantive policies),
7. ways to implement the policies thus designed Each task will result in a workshop and a publication (the deliverables).

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4,Sankt Olofsgatan 10 B

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