City, Country: France and the European Union
French partner submitting the project description: French National Agency for Water and Aquatic Environments (ONEMA)
French partners: The Water Agencies, Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, Biotope
Foreign partners: European Commission (DG RTD), UNESCO-IHP, International Water Resources Association (IWRA), International Office for Water
Dates of project: Since 2010
A few words on the project…
ONEMA is France’s premier technical organization specialized in knowledge and monitoring of water status and the ecological functioning of aquatic environments. By virtue of its responsibilities, ONEMA serves as the interface between science and management of water and aquatic environments.
Background or General project description
To produce knowledge is a necessity in order to tackle climate change and its impacts on water. It is also a necessity to make this knowledge available and understandable to the public and primarily to the decision-makers and water managers. The ONEMA developed a cutting-edge reflection on these issues by exploring the science-policy nexus, crucial for the response to climate change.
In order to improve sensitivity to climate change in water and aquatic environments management, it operates at multiple levels, as reflected in the following examples:
Strengthening the science-policy nexus on water and climate change at national, European and international levels
- At the national level, it worked with the water Agencies and the Ministry of Ecology to organize a national seminar on February 3, 2015, in preparation for COP21, which welcomed 170 participants, decision-makers and top-level interdisciplinary scientists. This seminar made it possible, in particular, to draw up concrete recommendations on strengthening dialogue between scientists and policy-makers in order to take into account climate change in water and aquatic environments management policies.
- From 2010 to 2012, ONEMA worked with the European Commission to develop an interface between science and policy for implementing the Water Framework Directive.
- Finally, ONEMA and UNESCO followed up a recommendation from the 6th World Water Forum for initiating a platform for interfacing between science and water managers to improve the way they include science with regard to the IPCC and other United Nations conventions.
These experiences made it possible to isolate several major principles for an interface between science and policy in the field of water and climate change, including implementing a community of practice, identifying and appointing "knowledge brokers" that bring life to the interface and support its main activities and enhancing communication and dissemination of knowledge tools.
Support for the production of scientific and technical knowledge for management of water and aquatic environments.
It recently published a study on the impact of climate change on freshwater fish in the "Comprendre Pour Agir” collection (see the project on Water Expertise France). This work provides an overview of current knowledge of climate change’s effect on water resources in France and fish biodiversity. This overview presents various forecasting tools and the applicability of these tools, which are used to provide quantitative responses to the scale of expected changes.
Strengths of project
ONEMA has seven years of experience in science-policy interface for the management of water and aquatic environments. It has resources for evaluating requirements in terms of knowledge on science, technology, production, capitalization, communication and diffusion of knowledge as well as facilitation of information exchange. These resources are an inspiration to all actors interested in fostering the development of science-based public policies on water, particularly in the specific context of climate change.