The EU-FP7 DROUGHT-R&SPI project organized a successful 2nd pan-European Drought Dialogue Forum (2nd pan-EU DDF) in Brussels, 6th of November 2013. This was a follow-up of the first DDF that was held in Nicosia under the auspices of the Cyprus EU Presidency, which was linked to the publication of the Blueprint to Safeguard Europe’s Water.
There were representatives from pan-European stakeholders (e.g. Drinking Water (Veolia), Electricity (EDF, Small Hydropower Association)), policy-makers (DG Climate Action, DG ECHO (European Community Humanitarian Office), DG Research and Innovation, DG Enterprise); and various other interested parties as the EU -Joint Research Centre, Global Water Partnership–Integrated Drought Management Planning, the Mediterranean River Basin Organisation, the Po River Basin Organisation; and related EU research projects (CLIMB/ CLIWASEC cluster, EPI-Water and DEWFORA).
In the first part of the programme there were two presentations, one on the “Gains and Gaps” on the drought hazard, responses and management that we learnt so far from the six Case Study areas, as well as one on the options for dealing with drought as provided by the Blueprint to Safeguard Europe’s Water. The presentations sparked lively discussion.
The second part of the programme consisted of a “World Café” style dialogue on drought impacts and drought risk maps at pan-EU scale. Four topics were discussed:
- Use and scale of risk maps
- Drought impacts
- Vulnerability factors at the pan-European scale
- Vulnerability assessment.
The “World Café” style method entailed interactive “science-policy-stakeholder” dialogue, in small groups. The DROUGHT-R&SPI consortium had prepared targeted questions on the mentioned four topics for these groups. The mixed composition of the groups led to interesting discussions within the groups, as some of the questions had to be answered as a group.
A large majority of participants gave positive feed-back on the presentations as well as the interactive discussions. The scientific community received answers to their questions (e.g. on the scale of the maps to be prepared and on the sectors to be taken into account for drought impacts and vulnerability) and stakeholders could ensure the inclusion of their interests in the discussions.
During the remaining lifetime of the project two other pan-European Drought Dialogue Fora are planned. The third Forum is planned to be held in the second quarter of 2014 and the fourth Forum will be held in parallel with the 2nd European Drought Conference that will be organised by the project (likely to be held early 2015, in Valencia, Spain).
Wageningen University (Henny van Lanen) and Alterra (Wouter Wolters) coordinated the organization of the 2nd pan-EU DDF and provided important input.