Project Work Plan
The first, initial phase is dedicated to the analysis of detailed requirements and constraints, data availability versus data requirements, and the resulting detailed specifications for the methodological approach derived from these requirements and constraints. The different physiographical as well as socio-economic setting of the individual case studies planned will provide a rich set of examples for a truly generic approach across the five Mediterranean case study countries.
The second phase will concentrate, in parallel, on data compilation and tool development. Based on the specifications evolving from the overlapping first phase, the set of tools to be used will be adjusted and adapted for the conceptual framework of the project. A main element here is the integration of quantitative methods based on simulation modeling and qualitative assessment in the socio-economic domain. Emphasis is on economic assessment to evaluate policy options in terms of economic efficiency. An important objective will be to achieve enough methodological flexibility to meet the constraints expected in different settings.
The third and central phase will concentrate on the individual case studies; the emphasis here is on the parallel use and comparative evaluation of a common methodology and set of tools for a range of regional studies with different emphasis within the common theme. Direct comparability of policy options will be ensured through the use of a common framework of indicators. Running the case studies in parallel and synchronized as much as possible should guarantee the full exploitation of different experiences in the case studies, leading to more general conclusions but also an effective work style through shared experience with common tools and objectives.
The fourth phase, again overlapping with the previous steps, will concentrate on comparative evaluation and dissemination. Generalization of the policy lessons learned, and the dissemination of project results to as wide as possible an audience using a broad range of communication methods prominently including the Internet will be the central activities. Dissemination is understood not as a post-processing step in the project, but as an essential element of the policy making process itself, assisted by systems analysis and information technology as the methodological core of the approach.
The scientific and technical approach
The approach rests on four main and iterative steps:
The Socio-economic framework
European environmental policies, as exemplified by the Water Framework Directive (WFD) (2000/60/EC), is increasingly oriented toward economic efficiency and the polluter pays principle. Extended by the principle of distributional equity, and the constraints of administrative, regulatory and enforcement efficiency, and general political feasibility, this provides a set of broad policy objectives that are equally applicable to the broader area of general resources management. This, in turn, is most dramatically at issue in the coastal zone.
Two principles are to be taken into account for the economic aspects of natural resources management. Firstly, the full recovery of the costs such as the costs of of water services, and secondly the polluter pays principle. Resource policies should provide adequate incentives for users to use (water) resources efficiently, and there should be an "adequate contribution from different water uses - industry, households and agriculture - to the recovery of the costs of water services", principles that are easily extended to other resource domains.
The economic analysis described in the WFD aims at supporting the selection of the most cost-effective combination of measures in respect of (water) resource uses to be included in any programme of measures.
The main steps in the socio-economic analysis are:
Policy oriented integration
The scenarios describe possible development strategies and policies (including external driving forces such as climate or demographics) in terms of, inter alias, land use change, investment in infrastructure, water allocation and pricing, water use technologies including treatment and recycling. These scenarios are based on the guidelines derived at the socio-economic level.
The scenarios (in terms of their physical attributes and implications) are then simulated with the numerical models. The resulting patterns and budgets of water distribution and allocation, demand and supply and then analysed again in terms of their socio-economic impacts (monetary and social aggregate costs, and benefits, environmental impacts). The resulting data are aggregated into policy-relevant indicators and information; to keep this process open and reproducible, a rule-based expert system will be used for this impact assessment and aggregation procedure.
Open and participatory decision making processes
To support a participatory decision making process requires the appropriate institutional and public interfaces, but also a shared information basis. Here the role of the internet as a central medium and tool for effective networking will be explored.
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