Climate Challenges call for the urgent mobilization of Mediterranean countries for sustainable water and soil management
On 19/20/21 October, the Interacademic Group for Development (GID) and the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) jointly organised the 9th Parmenides conference devoted to “The Sustainable Management of Mediterranean Watersheds Faced with the Impacts of Societal and Climate Changes” at the CIHEAM Bari Institute (Italy). It brought together around fifty high-level experts from eleven Mediterranean countries.
Active, concerted and sustainable management of the watersheds drained by the rivers flowing into this very vulnerable sea that is the Mediterranean is more fundamental than ever at a time when the climate change effects are already being felt: rising temperatures, longer dry seasons, increased evapotranspiration, increased frequency of extreme weather events.
This management must imperatively take into consideration the water-soil system, which is inseparable. There is obviously no good water management without land-use control whatever it is (agriculture, nature, urban planning, leisure, etc.) and no protection and enhancement of the land without water resources.
Focused on three main issues, namely food security (water supply/demand, agroecological transitions and agro-pastoral systems, etc.), vulnerabilities (water quality, risk of flash floods, etc.) and governance (dialogue between stakeholders, planning, legal, economic and financial issues, etc.), the debates highlighted, in particular, the importance of an integrated approach at the watershed level, articulated with policies and projects adapted to the territories, designed and implemented in close consultation with local communities. Adaptation investments for the territories, the necessary implementation of mitigation plans and the setting up of institutions that have and share scientific data were also stressed.
A roadmap to build and a common position in view of the World Water Forum (Dakar 2022)
Currently bringing together about thirty academies and national bodies from Europe, Africa, the GID, and the CIHEAM, an intergovernmental organisation devoted to sustainable agricultural cooperation, rural and coastal development in the Mediterranean, have decided that a Memorandum of Understanding would be developed between the two organisations to transform the recommendations of the conference into a “roadmap” and joint programming, especially in the fields of research-training, knowledge production and sharing for a broad audience and capacity building for field actors. At the end of their working sessions, the participants formulated recommendations that will be presented at the World Water Forum to be held in Dakar (Senegal) in March 2022 of which has placed rural development as a priority.