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Flood risks and agriculture of the future: Irstea speaks before the National Assembly

© Fotolia


On June 8, 2016, Irstea President Jean-Marc Bournigal was called to speak before the National Assembly's Sustainable Development and Town and Country Planning Commission. It was an opportunity to present different fields of research (water, environmental technologies, land use and development) to congresspeople interested by the institute's vision and opinion on sensitive issues such as pesticide use, the agriculture of tomorrow and a hot topic of late, floods.

As a major player in environmental research in France, Irstea focuses on water, environmental technologies, and land use and development in order to elucidate environmental and social issues, both present and future. The institute's president, Jean-Marc Bournigal, and Pierrick Givone, Deputy Director General of Research and Innovation, were called to speak before the National Assembly's Sustainable Development and Town and Country Planning Commission [1] on June 8, 2016 to present the institute and its research.

The commission's vice-president, Catherine Quéré (Charente-Maritime), presided over the meeting. Four topics in particular solicited questions from the congresspeople in attendance:

  • Pesticides, alternatives, possible futures
  • Agriculture of tomorrow, digital technology
  • Floods, prevention of risks and hazards
  • The institute's resources

Jean-Marc Bournigal © IrsteaIn addition, Jean-Marc Bournigal talked about the report Agriculture Innovation 2025, submitted in October 2015, which led to a task force responsible for creating an agricultural data portal.  "The idea of a portal came with the realization that data itself doesn't generate value; sharing it does. In short, this data portal aims to create an ecosystem open to innovation in the service of agriculture and the environment."

Floods: feedback and lessons learned

Current events have had an impact on the debates, especially the floods that affected the Ile-de-France region in early June and "put Irstea in the media spotlight," according to Valérie Lacroute, congresswoman for Seine-et-Marne and Mayor of Nemours. Pierrick Givone highlighted the work of our scientific teams, from developing flood prediction tools for organizations such as the French National Hydrometeorological and Flood Forecasting Center (Schapi) to monitoring and managing flood defense structures.

Following these floods, Ségolène Royal, Minister of the Environment, Energy and the Sea, invited Irstea to participate in a meeting with prefects and other government officials. In partnership with the Ministry and Schapi, the institute has undertaken to provide a lessons learned process to define these events (ordinary/exceptional), study the tools in place (level of forecasting, advance warning) and make recommendations, particularly in relation to warning systems (automation, etc.). 

Watch a video of the hearing or read the report.

For further information

[1] This commission brings together 72 congresspeople who meet regularly to draw up reports based on the people who come to speak and on round table discussions.