Revision of SRIA 3.0 and Vision 2030 – Update on National Consultation Workshops

National workshops were held in seven partner countries and the EPA (Ireland) are expecting the remaining summary reports to be returned soon.

National workshops were held in seven partner countries and the EPA (Ireland) are expecting the remaining summary reports to be returned soon.  These workshops are a critical component for the development of the new Vision 2030 and SRIA 3.0 because they provide the national perspectives and invaluable insight on current and future water challenges from partners and geographically diverse regions. 

The Irish workshop (14/02/2019) highlighted the need for a clear message in Vision 2030 and the links between the vision and the research objectives of the SRIA needs to be stated clearly.  Also, WJPI needs a clear statement regards public engagement and the strategy for delivering specific UN Sustainable Development Goals.  The current themes are still relevant but the titles should be revised to make them more concise with a clear message (e.g. Water ecosystems; Public health; Water in agriculture.) Several research gaps were identified but in particular, WJPI needs to focus on behavioural sciences/ civic engagement and getting communities to take action.

The Italian National workshop was organized by MIUR and ISPRA (14/02/2019) and they found the Vision was still valid.    Each of the themes and sub-themes were reviewed and recommendations for revisions provided, include a reduction in the number of the issues to be addressed.  Belgium is an observer to Water JPI; their National workshop (21/03/2019) recommended the Vision 2030 make a clear commitment regards climate change and the urgent need for resilient water systems. They provided their national WATER Vision 2050 that identifies priority action areas to help inform WJPI Vision 2030.  Some key recommendations included: (i) the economic impacts of extreme weather events (e.g. drought 2018) have raised awareness that a systemic approach is required; (ii) International R&D is challenging so WJPI must define clear research objectives and specific scope to ensure successful collaboration and cooperation; and (iii) a number of research and innovation questions were proposed.

Finland returned a comprehensive report on their national workshop (01/02/2019); they recommend WJPI should consider the issue of water and sanitation in small villages in underdeveloped countries because Europe has outsourced environmental problems (e.g. waste materials, hazardous chemicals) and this should be recognised/addressed.  Also, international cooperation could be improved by extending the duration of projects with developing countries.  They noted a 10-year project cycle would be better to allow for barriers/ delays as the start.  WJPI must focus on climate change, blue economy, circular economy and SDG’s for 2030 and beyond.  Finland found the current themes were too broad and the soil-water-air nexus and nature-based solutions should be prioritised in SRIA 3.0.  Water JPI video and the Policy brief were great examples of how we make impact on policy making.  WJPI should promote that messages from researchers to policy makers should be very clear, and directed to the correct level of policymaker. 

The Aqua Research Collaboration (ARC) workshop (29/03/2019) report highlighted the need for a more clear, focused Vision 2030; also, they supported alignment and compatibility with UNSDGs.   Some key future water challenges were identified including climate change, urbanisation/demographic change and policy development.  The current RDI themes are, in general still valid but need to be revised and amended to include some identified research gaps.  Budget limitations of WJPI and the need for more than one call per year were identified as a challenges to achieving the strategic aims/objectives.