EMWIS Session, Osaka, 2003-03-19
Sharing knowledge in the water sector, a starting point for broader collaboration
The case of the
Euro-Mediterranean Information System on the know-how in the Water sector
Theme: Water Information
Osaka, Grand Cube, room
19 March 15:30-18:15
Welcome and Introduction,
Juan CANOVAS, President of EMWIS Steering Committee
Overview of the political background of EMWIS
Walter MAZZITTI, Honorary President of EMWIS Steering Committee
Technical presentation and demonstration
Eric MINO, Coordinator and manager of EMWIS Technical Unit
Case studies from European Countries
France, Jean François DONZIER, (OIeau - French Focal Point)
Spain, Juan Antonio VERA (CEDEX - Spanish Focal Point)
Case studies from Cyprus
Chrysostomos Kambanellas (Water Development department - Cypriot Focal Point)
Conditions necessary to set up such collaborative information network
Importance of information sharing at the national and international levels
Importance of unifying water information systems to simplify access to information
Necessary standardization of water related information flows
Working language: English
Efficient water management requires good knowledge of existing actors, techniques and methods used, available tools and documentation, results of research programs, training opportunities, etc. Most of the information available both at international or national level, is fragmented, dispersed and heterogeneous. Therefore it is necessary to make an effort to rationalize and make this information available, readable, accurate and easily accessible.
This is the reason why, during the Euro-Mediterranean Conference on Water Management held in Marseilles (November 1996), the representatives of the 27 countries (15 EU member states and their 12 Med partners), signatories of the Barcelona Declaration (November 1995) and the European Union decided to launch the Euro-Mediterranean Information System on know-how in the Water Sector. This system aims to facilitate access to information by using modern information and communication technologies for anyone interested in local water management.
These 27 countries committed themselves in building a decentralized system based on the principle of subsidiary in terms of responsibility and financing. For each country, such system requires:
- The creation of a National Focal Point with the necessary equipment, human and financial resources.
- the development of national information systems according to standards defined jointly by all the all the countries;
- The collection of information from the various existing sources in the country
- The validation of the quality of the information provided before publication
- The agreement to share this information at the international and national levels
The main recommendation of the session could be summarised by “Think Global Act Local”. International initiatives are required to define common and flexible standards to present and exchange water information. Such standards are necessary for building international information systems by aggregating information produced by various national systems. The sustainability of national systems relies on the added value for and the involvement of the local communities.
Finally, we must keep in mind that water information systems need to be considered as tools to serve an ultimate goal that must be clearly defined, such as better water governance or developing new international cooperation initiatives (i.e. the goal of EMWIS).