Water management requires a large volume of increasingly sophisticated information. However - at both international and national level - access to know-how in the water sector remains fragmented, dispersed and heterogeneous. There is therefore a need to rationalise the information and to make it both understandable and easily available.
To tackle this issue, and to strengthen the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue, EMWIS (Euro-Mediterranean Information System on Know-How in the Water Sector) was initiated during the Marseilles Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on Water Management (November 1996) - Declaration. On this occasion, the Euro-Mediterranean Ministers of Water met together anddecided to create a system to rationalise the exchange of information and know-how. EMWIS was approved in Naples by the water directors after aone year feasibility study. Today, it is the only operational tool for cooperation between the 43 Euro-Mediterranean countries in the water sector. Its task is to make an inventory and gather all available information, providing easy access to everyone.
The EMWIS initiative is based on active participation and on the sharing of information and experience acquired by the partner countries at local, regional and national levels.
EMWIS has three main targets
• To provide easy access to information, with special emphasis on:
The types of institutions and the people involved.
Existing centres and their organisation; the means and technologies used for processing, accessing, consultation and dissemination, standardisation and quality certification.
Existing organisations, programmes, localisation, trainers, methods, training materials, quality certification.
- Research and development
Existing organisations, programmes, people involved, means and technologies, publications, partnerships, funding sources.
- Data administration
Existing organisations and databases, methods used for data gathering and checking, publications.
• To develop the sharing of information
• To work together on common products and cooperation programmes.
How the information is made available
Access to EMWIS is open to everyone interested in water management issues. The wide availability of Internet makes it the ideal access and exchange tool. Thanks to Internet, users can easily find the information they are looking for, and active exchange and discussion is facilitated.
The EMWIS website is multilingual – currently available in English, French and Arabic, it is open to other languages.
In addition, each partner country manages its own information server,providing access to national information and know-how. All of these serversare connected via Internet, but the user can search for information using asingle access point, i.e. the International Focal Point. Each National Focal Point is responsible for identifying and guaranteeing quality and access to information sources. The only information sources accessible via the system are those approved by EMWIS.