Participation of stakeholders is widely acknowledged to enhance the quality and acceptance of environmental policy measures, including in the field of water management. The BeWater project developed an approach for a structured engagement of the society for increasing local resilience to global change in four river basins across the Mediterranean. The BeWater Outscaling Campaign intended to reach out to the wider community to share experiences obtained within the project.
What the BeWater Outscaling Campaign was about?
The Outscaling Campaign supported outreach of the BeWater’s outputs to stakeholders beyond the boundary actors of the case study river basins. A number of targeted events were organized by BeWater and presentations were made in international, EU and Mediterranean events. Linkages were made with key international and regional policy processes like the UNFCCC COP, UfM, UNEP MAP, etc. Through these, BeWater messages reached a wide audience of institutions and stakeholder organisations with competencies on climate change adaptation, integrated water resources management, and stakeholders’ participation.
In addition, it was decided to give more attention on Youth as a featured partner for local adaptation and sustainable development at large. This was translated into a rich set of activities in Tunisia, including with an emphasis on the Rmel basin at the Zaghouan province.
What was the scale of action of the campaign?
Through a range of synergies with and beyond BeWater partners, the Outscaling Campaign included the organisation and co-organisation by BeWater of seven events as well as contributions in more than 30 international and regional events, reaching directly and indirectly to more than 1500 stakeholder organisations, and a much greater number of their representatives as well as individuals. Furthermore, a number of communication and policy materials were widely disseminated through different means.
BeWater (co-)organised several events together with other partners:
• Roundtable on participatory approaches during the EFIMED Week 2016 in Calabria (Italy);
• COP 22 Side Event ‘From planning to action in the Water and Agriculture Sectors: Development and implementation of National Adaptation Plans’ in Marrakech (Morocco);
• European Policy Event ‘Implementing COP22 agreements: River basin adaptation planning through stakeholder engagement’ in Brussels (Belgium);
• River Basin Adaptation Conference in Nova Gorica (Slovenia);
• BeWater Side Event during the 5th Mediterranean Forest Week in Agadir (Morocco);
• MENBO Technical Workshop in Malta;
• 6th Beirut Water Week in Beirut.
On the Youth focus, seven consultation and training workshops were organised in Zaghouan and Tunis, in collaboration with the regional authorities and national and local NGOs, engaging more than 200 participants. In addition, an interactive game for schoolchildren, titled “Un-Eau” was developed and mentors were trained to demonstrate its play. In addition, Youth representatives from Tunisia were assisted to participate and contribute to four international events, including the recent COPs.
Synergies with other organisations, and with projects (like GWP/AMCOW WACDEP for the regional events, the La Jeunesse Francophone pour l'eau for Youth, etc.) multiplied the implementation capacity of the Outscaling Campaign and concluded with win-win synergies that could be further utilized in the future for follow up activities.
Why such a special emphasis on youth?
BeWater identified Youth as a dynamic group with a great potential to learn, develop skills and positively influence local processes, if properly involved. Today, there is a lot of talk about promoting Youth’s engagement, however, words have not been yet translated into actions at the level needed. BeWater has tried to make a tangible contribution by practically engaging this largely neglected group, making an investment, within its limited capacities, on our common future.
What was the Outscaling Campaign´s added value?
Building on the BeWater’s results, the Outscaling Campaign contributed on increasing the project’s impact and legacy. It disseminated, explained and debated the project outputs and key messages beyond the sphere of the case study boundaries. It is too early to demonstrate BeWater’s impact beyond its case studies, but hopefully BeWater will continue attracting interest on its results, leading to utilization of the knowledge base established and to replication of activities at river basin level in the Mediterranean and beyond.
Photo credits: Albert Garduño / INRGREF