Science in society: adapting to climate change in the Mediterranean basin
Projections of future climate change point to increasing water scarcity and drought in the Mediterranean region . This will cause serious socioeconomic loss and have significant environmental impact.
In this context BEWATER, a new European project, aims to promote dialogue and collaboration between science and society in sustainable water management in the Mediterranean. Led by the Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF), project partners will organise participatory processes involving scientists and other stakeholders in four pilot river basins throughout the Mediterranean (Catalonia , Cyprus , Slovenia and Tunisia). Each will identify and share the challenges of climate change in their particular region and the various water management options available. Based on this information, all stakeholders will design joint plans for adaptation to climate change in their regions . "These plans will allow an increase in the resilience of social and ecological systems linked to each river basin ," said Diana Pascual, CREAF researcher and one of the project coordinators.
BEWATER aims to improve public awareness of the importance of sustainable water management , develop innovative processes of mutual learning and create more social responsibility in this area. These three factors will be key to defining and implementing successful adaptation strategies and policies.
The project, lasting three and a half years, has a total budget of almost three million Euros and is funded by the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme under the Science in Society initiative. It involves project partners from 12 institutions from 11 countries, including research centres, businesses, NGOs and European institutions; platforms and organisations with a strong commitment to promoting these processes using innovative methodologies applicable to other regions and contexts. Among its partners, BEWATER includes the Mediterranean Regional Office of the European Forest Institute (EFIMED), which will coordinate project dissemination across Mediterranean Basin countries through its large network.
The project symbolises a transition in approach from water management based only on technological solutions towards a new vision, incorporating planning and management conducted by multiple actors. The project is based on an iterative process of mutual learning between science and society, as well as multi-directional and multi-sectoral knowledge transfer. BEWATER’s commitment to this change will facilitate a proactive response to the challenges of climate change.
More information: anabel sanchez: a.sanchez (at) creaf.uab.cat
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