Round table on participatory approaches during EFIMED Week 2016
An overview on the BeWater approach for participative and bottom-up management of river basin was presented during EFIMED Week 2016, held in Calabria Region (Italy) from the 7th to the 9th of November. Sihem Jebari from INRGREF (Tunisia) presented insights and results obtained in the Rmel Case Study River Basin, part of a round table focused on innovative and participatory approaches.
The BeWater approach, along with the insights from the Montagne Fiorentine Model Forest (Tuscany, Italy) and of the network of Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves (ICTA-UAB), showed how the success of an initiative may often be determined by the use of bottom-up approaches. Although all three cases had an emphasis on stakeholder participation, they each presented different methods for engagement. The Montagne Fiorentine Model Forest has established a trademark for local timber products, while in the Biosphere network, local stakeholders are encouraged to be directly involved, with great importance attached to communication and educational dimensions. In the case of Rmel’s river basin in Tunisia, the process of putting together a river basin adaptation plan with the participation of local stakeholders was described.
Such experiences are important for stakeholders, giving them a voice they probably would not have otherwise. The exercise of opening up and listening to what everyone has to say leads to solutions that were not so obvious previously and which might then be more easily accepted by all stakeholders.
Participation not only allows project stakeholders to produce innovative solutions, but also facilitates the understanding process of key issues presented by technicians.