CONNECTING PEOPLE FOR BETTER WATER MANAGEMENT IN EUROPE
AWARE is the acronym of an European Project about “how to achieve sustainable water ecosystems management connecting research, people and policy makers in Europe”, funded under the 7th Research Framework Programme and started in June 2009.
The project considers the best scientific knowledge available, and the local management practices, in three pilot case studies of coastal water ecosystems – the Gulf of Riga (Estonia and Latvia), the Seine, Somme and Schelde river basins and the Southern North Sea coastal zone (France and Belgium) and the Goro lagoon in the Po delta area (Italy).
The scientific knowledge and the knowledge about local water management practices is combined and shared with a number of actors – scientists, policy makers, stakeholders and citizens – in a participatory process undertaken at European and local level, in the three case study areas.
The backbone of the process is represented by a panel of 30 citizens randomly selected among a pool of candidates in the three areas.
The citizens (10 for each case) are engaged in a number of workshops and a final conference at European level – meeting all together with scientists and policy experts.
The goal is to discuss the EU water policy framework and how to connect scientific knowledge and water management practices to achieve a good ecological status of the coastal waters. They are involved also in local workshops and conferences at local level, running in parallel in Autumn 2010 in the three case study areas, and engaging as well local stakeholders and policy makers.
The overall process is a first experiment of connecting lay people, scientists and policy makers in the analysis and evaluation of sustainable strategies to manage complex socio-ecological systems.