The Parmenides IX Conference, organised by the Inter-Academic Group for Development (GID) and the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM), on ‘Sustainable management of Mediterranean watersheds faced with the challenges of societal and climate change’, ended on October 21, after three intensive working days.
The meeting, held at CIHEAM Bari on 19-21 October, brought together prominent representatives from Multilateral Institutions, Research Centres, Universities, and the private sector and was an opportunity to discuss the need for urgently seeking solutions to these pressing challenges.
The conference was opened by Maurizio RAELI, CIHEAM Bari’s Director, François GUINOT, GID’s President and Anna Grazia MARASCHIO, Apulia Region’s Councillor for the Environment, Waste Cycle and Reclamation, Environmental Surveillance, Industrial Risk, Spatial Planning, Land Use, Landscape, Town Planning, and Housing Policies.
In the introductory session, moderated by Jacques BRULHET, President of the French Academy of Agriculture, four contributions were presented on: ‘ Watershed, an integrated vision of space’ by Pierre GENY, Permanent Secretary, Académie des sciences d'outre-mer (France); ‘Impact of Climate Change on Mediterranean Watersheds’ by Umberto FRATINO, Professor, Politecnico di Bari (Italy); ‘Geopolitics of Water Scarcity in the Mediterranean Basin’ by Pierre BLANC, Professor of Geopolitics, Sciences Po, Sciences Agro, Bordeaux (France); ‘Demography and Land Management’ by Hadrien DI COSTANZO, DemoMed .
Discussion then continued through four thematic sessions.
The first session on food security included four roundtables covering demand management, supply management, agroecology transition and agropastoral systems.
The second session addressed the issue of vulnerabilities through three round tables on water quality, flash flood risks and vulnerability indicators.
The third session focused on governance and legal, economic, and financial perspectives of watershed management building on real cases, and laid emphasis on the crucial role of dialogue among stakeholders.
High quality of presentations and lively debate among the participants allowed to bring out three main conclusions as outlined by Michèle GENDREAU-MASSALOUX, Deputy Director of GID, and Placido PLAZA, Secretary General of CIHEAM, in their closing remarks: the need to promote and adopt a territorial vision for an integrated management of natural resources in watersheds; the importance of predicting and anticipating future dynamics in order to plan and implement adaptation actions; and the urgent need to share effective solutions, which are now available, with the relevant actors in order to improve collective actions.
These conclusions will provide the background for a joint contribution of GID and CIHEAM in the framework of the World Water Forum, which will take place in Dakar in 2022. They will also help inform actions to strengthen dialogue and cooperation in the Mediterranean area, rethink training and research to face the challenges ahead, develop new evaluation and management criteria, and formulate recommendations.