Questions for Anne Clemens, Director of the Rhone Basin Zone Workshop

Le mar 05, 2012 dans la categorie Initiatives par Emmanuelle Robert | 0 Commentaire »

Could you tell us who the contributors will be and which rivers will be represented at the first international conference on Managing our rivers: Research and Action ?

The IS. Rivers conference proposes an overview of research and actions in the service of over 55 rivers (in 32 different countries). 100 oral presentations and 70 posters are expected on 14 major French rivers, 25 European rivers and 20 rivers from around the world. 70% of the proposed papers are rather scientific, while 40% are case studies. Many papers bring together operational and scientific actors.

The meeting brings together research and action in the service of the rivers. Does the Rhone River offer an exemplary situation in this area?

In the case of the Rhone River, there is a long practice of dialogue among scientists, institutional actors and land managers of the river. It is exemplary in the sense that institutional actors and scientists spontaneously share their knowledge in the service of action for a project at the time of a crisis (a particular contamination, a flood). Other major European rivers like the Loire, the Rhine or the Danube are also involved in measures of research and action to be presented at IS.Rivers.

Is this dialogue between scientists and managers made easier by issues of becoming the large watercourse while large facilities are scheduled in most emerging countries?

The dialogue is based on the willingness of actors and scientists to share diagnostic information in order to act in favor of the rivers. This has become necessary in light of the numerous issues at stake concerning the rivers. For example, on the Niger River, scientific observation provides useful information to management to better understand the impact of small and large water projects in light of global climate change.

You chose to make the theme of “rivers and society” one of the three axes of your conference. On an urban or regional level, territories are carriers of other values, social and cultural, embodied by the river. Do you see progress among managers in taking into consideration the knowledge of the riverside residents and of their aspirations to live with the river?

The river “makes territory” across many cities and their metropolitan areas such as Barcelona and the Besos River (Spain), Cairo and the Nile (Egypt), Lyon and the Rhone (France). Regionally, the coupling of “river- territory” is under construction with integrated management policies broken down by major issues and local projects. IS.Rivers is an opportunity to get acquainted with these “river-territory” projects developed in different areas and to appreciate them as assets to the river and to the society.

Interview by Jacky Vieux, translated  from French by Hadia Hakim