Noviwam In Brief
1. GETTING STARTED
"The NOVIWAM project synthesizes different perspectives from the public, private and academic spheres".
Increasing efforts are being made to understand the consequences of environmental changes for society, particularly in the field of water resource management (García-Ruiz et al., 2011). Changes in water resources are particularly relevant in areas where water availability is a limiting factor for economic development.
The Water Framework Directive (WFD) (Directive 2000/60/EC), introduced key elements intending to shift the European Union water governance towards the application of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) principles. The Global Water Partnership defined IWRM as the process of coordinating conservation, management and development of water, land and related resources across sectors, in order to maximize the economic and social benefits derived from water resources in an equitable manner while preserving and, where necessary, restoring freshwater ecosystems.
IWRM must therefore be faced from a multisectorial point of view, involving scientific research, technological development and innovation, social and economic aspects and administrative proceedings.
The NOVIWAM Project (Novel Integrated Water Management Systems for Southern Europe), funded by the EU 7th Framework Programme (FP7) under the Regions of Knowledge Initiative, was born to promote multilevel and interregional co-operation in the different sectors bound to the improvement and innovation on water management with particular focus on tools and methods.
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2. NOVIWAM OBJECTIVES
The NOVIWAM project aims to promote multilevel and interregional co-operation in the field of water management tools and methods. By learning from the experiences of others and pooling the related knowhow and technology, the partners want to increase their capacity to solve in the most eco-efficient and sustainable manner the compelling water management problems faced in the Euro-Mediterranean climate regions. At the same time, the project would contribute to the objectives of the European Water Framework Directive: a good ecological and chemical status of all waters and water management at catchment or river basin scale. The final goal of this initiative would be to exploit the actions associated with the project to potentiate the internationalization of the activities of the participants.
To help achieve these objectives, the NOVIWAM project will developed a Joint Action Plan (JAP) for the participating regional clusters designed by establishing a communication process between the clusters and studying the specific needs, weaknesses and capacities (SWOT Analysis) of each one and in general, taking into account the specific characteristics of all of the agents involved: researchers, companies and regional authorities. Additionally, the NOVIWAM project will established a programme for the implementation of the JAP, trying to involve other regions into it, and the dissemination of the conclusions of the work at a regional and international level.
The NOVIWAM project facilitates a long-lasting relationship between the participating clusters, promoting mentoring and mutual learning activities as well as further co-operation activities beyond this project.
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3. THE NOVIWAM PARTNERSHIP
The NOVIWAM project brings together five European research-driven clusters experienced in a wide range of aspects of water management, which include representatives from the "triple helix" (administration, academy and industry). Clusters represent five regions from Southern Europe: Cyprus, Albania, Poitou- Charentes (France), Andalusia (Spain) and the Northern Hydrographical Region of Portugal.
The structure of NOVIWAM is flexible enough to adapt the focus of its work in connection with the analyses developed by the consortium, which creates the best working conditions to develop new projects and improve practices on watershed management. The consortium partners have different specialties and institutional scope allowing an effective response to the needs identified within each region.
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4. KEY OBJECTIVES
To facilitate COOPERATION BETWEEN THE TRIPLE HELIX COMPONENTS (authorities, business, research) of each regional cluster.
To become a wide international RESEARCH-DRIVEN NETWORK of clusters focused on water. To develop a RESEARCH AGENDA proposing solutions to the needs identified in the participating regions. Out of this research agenda, 5 priority actions will be clearly defined and promoted by project partners.
Who organize? NOVIWAM consortium
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5.1. IDENTIFYING THE CORE ISSUES – SWOT ANALYSIS
A characterisation of the participating regions was conducted through stakeholder consultation and the project partner's research, concluding in a SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. The SWOT analysis provided a close look on the situation of the integrated water resource management systems and the involved stakeholders, specifically in terms of the environmental and socioeconomic context, governance and management issues, and the current scientific and technological situation and trends.
The conclusions extracted from the SWOT analysis served as drafting basis for the development of the NOVIWAM Joint Action Plan (JAP), which includes a series of actions to be undertaken and promoted jointly by the participants aimed at addressing the issues identified in the SWOT, using the internal strengths and external opportunities to correct the detected weaknesses and be ready to face potential threats.
The SWOT and consultations revealed an absence of formal channels for the exchange of know-how, expertise and relevant data between researchers, public administration and the private sector, which prevents IWRM research projects to take duly into account relevant stakeholders' priorities and needs.
Water management governance also appeared in all participating region as one of the major weaknesses, mainly due to the relative novelty of the integrated water management legislation and associated administrative institutions.
Many similar needs emerged during the work and consultations around the SWOT analysis, ensuring that the research agenda embedded in the Joint Action Plan addressed real challenges in the water sector. Two short reports provided guidance on financing and implementation for research projects and actions that could emerge out of the JAP.
A series of measures are introduced by NOVIWAM partnership to ensure a high impact for its activities and its proposed actions within and beyond the initial framework of the project.
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