Econostrum | Economic News in the Mediterranean

Scientists and decision-makers: How to better work together?

Written by Christiane Navas, NICE on Tuesday, February 9th 2016 à 10:00 | Read 679 times

The Plan Bleu seeks to bring together scientists and decision-makers in order that, in a Mediterranean Region under pressure, the environmental work undertaken by the former might make the action plans put in place by the latter more efficient.

The ecosystems need to be taken as a whole to better understand the interactions involved (Crete, photo CC-R.Stan)
The ecosystems need to be taken as a whole to better understand the interactions involved (Crete, photo CC-R.Stan)
The EcAp (Ecosystem Approach) initiative, adopted by the Barcelona Convention in 2008 and implemented by the United Nations Environmental Programme's Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP), is aiming to bring the Mediterranean's marine and coastal ecosystems up to Good Environmental Status (GES). 
To deploy the programmes required both on the regional scale and for each country bordering the Mediterranean, decision-makers in charge of environmental policy need to be in possession of pertinent information, thus ensuring the appropriateness of the measures taken and their legitimacy in the eyes of the populations affected.

This conclusion, as evident as it may seem, is not always borne out in the real-life situation. Information is often slow in passing between scientists, who observe first-hand and study the changes in ecosystems brought about by human activity and climate change, and decision-makers, pressured into taking the necessary action.

Strengthening the science policy interface, by implementing a structured approach to improve the flow of information, is today a priority.  To this end, a first workshop was organized by the Plan Bleu in December, 2015, in Sophia Antipolis to draw up a list of gaps in the transmission of key scientific information in order to implement the MAP's Integrated Monitoring and Assessment Programme (IMAP) for ecosystems. 

Drawing up and disseminating best practices

The workshop brought together fifty or so scientists, experts and decision-makers from around fifteen Mediterranean-bordering countries. "This first workshop is an important step. Above all, it has made people aware that scientific knowledge is an essential element. We have seen that with the IPCC report on climate change," explains Didier Sauzade, programme officer at the Plan Bleu. "We have tried to close the "expectations gap" between decision-makers and scientists, who rarely speak the same language. And we have worked on defining best practices so these can be promoted."

The discussions provided further evidence that publishing articles in journals or organizing conferences is not always the most appropriate way of disseminating information and improving awareness among advisors of those in charge of environmental policy. Other initiatives already tested in certain countries, such as short-term staff exchanges between laboratories and government departments, have led to enhanced collaboration. This first event at Sophia Antipolis is due to be followed by other workshops on the themes of biodiversity, pollution… or even the role of databases.

In partnership with Le Plan Bleu

Version française

In the same section
< >

Thursday, March 1st 2018 - 15:02 The Mediterranean under surveillance


About is an independent media that deals with the daily economic news of the countries bordering the Mediterranean. Economic cooperation, business news by sector (Industry, Services, Transport, Environment, Society/Institutions), thematic files, airport news, airlines and shipping companies (new destinations)... are treated and analysed by a team of journalists present in the Mediterranean basin. Subscribe to To be the first to know, with unlimited access to all articles. To receive the weekly newsletters and special newsletters sent as soon as our files are published. Automatically renewable subscription, but the reader keeps control of it or yearly subscription. For individuals or professionals...