Think global, act local: successful adaptation strategies start small
Adaptation strategies initiated at local level are those best suited for rolling out into implementation. This was one of the key messages among the conclusions derived from an intense day of presentations, lightning talks, individual reflection and a final panel discussion at the River Basin Adaptation Conference, held in Nova Gorica, Slovenia, on 7 March 2017.
Attended by around 70 participants, the conference speakers included leading experts in climatology, water management and participatory techniques. A rapid “Lightning Talk” session gave participants from inside and outside the project consortium the opportunity to present their experiences, leading to a panel discussion and development of the key messages, available soon from the BeWater website. These included that a multi-sectoral approach is vital, taking into account the differing needs of each sector in adapting to global change and how these might be harmonised. Furthermore, a culture of optimism is necessary to influence the political mood while grounding adaptation in the reality of what is happening in local neighbourhoods and societies, in relation to change at global level, is crucial. Discussions also centred on the importance of exploiting existing knowledge: measures should be developed to ensure that scientific knowledge reaches end users while local society insights are fully considered.
The conference also saw the launch of the video infographic, “River Basin Adaptation Planning with stakeholder infusion: a recipe”, which is available to view on the BeWater website. The video describes a step-by-step approach to river basin adaptation planning and is a quick introduction to the participatory methodology developed in BeWater. This is described in detail in the easy-to-follow handbook “Developing participatory adaptation plans for river basins”, also available online.
The one-day conference was complemented by a field trip to the Vipava River Basin on 8 March, one of four case study river basins in the BeWater project. The trip followed the course of the river, from spring to reservoir, with points of interest including hydrotechnical works, conservation areas, flood risk protection measures and a wastewater treatment plant.
The River Basin Adaptation Conference marked the end of the EU-funded BeWater Project, an FP7 SIS project “Making society an active participant in water adaptation to global change”, which completes on 31 March 2017 after 42 months.
BeWater project receives funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration. The project, coordinated by CREAF, developed River Basin Adaptation Plans in four Mediterranean basins through citizen participation.
Photos: Christos Zoumides, The Cyprus Institute; Albert Garduño, EFI
More information: Anabel Sánchez: ; tel: +34 93 581 4675