For the past 10 years, teams from the Water Management, People and Uses Joint Research Unit (G-EAU JRU) at the Irstea Montpellier Center have studied and supported participatory policies to manage water and regions. The result of this work is CoOPLAaGE, a suite of tools to integrate the different stakeholders (managers, elected officials, public, researchers, etc.) and their knowledge to various scales (villages, towns, basins, regions, etc.) and issues (water resources, pollution, economic development, biodiversity, etc.). The aim of these tools is to facilitate the long-term development of locally adapted solutions that deal with climate and socioeconomic changes and can be more easily adopted by the communities involved.
This original approach encourages a management method based on the empowerment and commitment of stakeholders at all levels through the use of participatory modeling. Among the various tools, the WatAGame kit for water management issues has already been tested successfully in over 20 countries as part of various international projects.
Irstea scientists in the G-EAU JRU took advantage of COP22 to present these methods and share their practices with international partners and other stakeholders involved in integrated participatory policies.
Cooplanet, the new network for participatory policies to resource management
The workshop brought together 9 partners from 4 different continents. These different partners from Africa (Tunisia, Senegal, Mali, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa), Europe (Bulgaria), South America (Costa Rica) and Oceania (New Caledonia) shared their experiences with integrated participatory policies implemented to help communities make decisions and take action together.
The workshop was an opportunity to create and launch a lasting international network of "local change leaders" called Coopla-net, organized around the CoOPLAage tools.
Raising awareness of the challenges involved in supporting regional changes
The side event "Supporting local stakeholder groups in adapting to climate change across territories: feedback, innovative tools and forecasts" organized by Irstea brought together 60 stakeholders involved in regional management groups. The aim was to present the challenges and difficulties experienced in supporting individuals looking to create groups of various sizes across their regions.
With 2 specific events organized by the French Water Partnership (FWP), water was the main issue on the global political agenda at COP22. Invited to participate in these sessions, Irstea researchers presented the benefits of participatory policies along with the importance of combining physical and human data to ensure final decisions respect the environmental and organizational dynamics involved. In particular, the "Water and climate in island regions" session was an opportunity to present the participatory modeling work carried out by Irstea in Kiribati and New Caledonia. Partly designed around the CoOPLAage method, these activities were carried out as part of a project funded by the Pacific Fund provided by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development in order to improve water management on islands.
- The Irstea team and the Coopla-net network participated in the Coopération Suisse youth area and were able to present various participatory tools designed and developed for their relative fields.