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Projects :: U@MARENOSTRUM

U@MareNostrum

U@MARENOSTRUM: U@MARENOSTRUM

Strengthening Public Participation for water protection and management

The pilot project entitled “U@MARENOSTRUM” aims to involve, thanks to ICT and GIS, citizens and local actors (associations) in decisions regarding the protection of water and the marine environment in Mediterranean coastal areas.

OBJECTIVES AND DESCRIPTION

The project will support citizens and local actors in identifying environmental problems that need to be solved in the French Riviera, Valencia and Ionian Islands regions as well as finding ways to solve these problems.

The project will involve citizens, representatives of NGOs and public authorities and will make use of geographic information systems.

The platform features interactive documents that link specific sections of text to specific features on maps. The application can be used:
- for land-use planning;
- to identify environmental problems and hazards regarding, for example, air pollution, water resources, waste water, chemical & fuel dumps, waste, and so on;
- to exploit ordinary citizens' local knowledge in order to identify environmental problems and hazards and make proposals for solutions;
- to enable those affected as well as environmental NGOs to comment on proposals for projects affecting the environment or plans and programmes relating to the environment.

Local people will be invited to register their views about particular issues by placing flags with written comments on specific locations on a map. An end-user will be able to view a map of the area he/she is interested in, perform zoom and pan operations to assist in visualisation and navigation, ask questions such as "what is this building?" and "what is this road?" (spatial queries) and then make suggestions about specific features identified on the map (attribute input).

EXPECTED RESULTS

Our trial project will qualitatively improve the level of interaction between relevant actors and thus contribute to the establishment of a “public sphere” concerning EU topics with a regional focus. The exchange of information will promote cross-border cooperation as well as mutual understanding between the countries involved in the project. Moreover, the project will support stakeholders from the French Riviera, Valencia and Ionian regions to consult each other on all major plans and strategies under consideration that are likely to have a significant environmental impact across borders.

The project provides an open-source software solution and methodology to help local decision-makers from the above-mentioned regions to improve the quality, legitimacy and transparency of their policies for citizens. Simultaneously, citizens will be provided with a means to become more familiar with and involved in the functioning of democratic decision-making and to monitor the implementation of EU environmental law in these regions. Citizens will have the opportunity to express their concerns in matters affecting them.

Participation will help to create more informed local, regional and national government decision-making by incorporating diverse opinions, values and ideas and benefiting from direct, immediate knowledge of the environmental conditions from the community and citizens. Public involvement will improve the quality of decision-making, raise citizen awareness of environmental issues and increase public understanding of the decision-making process. It will also help to build broad-based consensus for environmental programmes and more support for their implementation.

Contact information

PEREZ ORTEGA Maria
Technologielaan 11 - 010
3001 Heverlee (Leuven)
BE
Tel. +32(0)16 38 11 11
Fax. +32(0)16 38 11 00

Participants

Coordinator: GFI BENELUX SA, BELGIUM

Participating partners:

Organisation Country
GFI BENELUX SA BELGIUM
COMMUNAUTE D'AGGLOMERATION DE LA RIVIERA FRANCAISE FRANCE
REGION OF IONIAN ISLANDS GREECE
HELLENIC CENTRE FOR MARINE RESEARCH GREECE
GOVERNMENT TO YOU GREECE
GENERALITAT VALENCIANA SPAIN
FUNDACION COMUNIDAD VALENCIANA REGION EUROPEA SPAIN

Last update: 22/06/2009

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