IT-4 :: Cross-cutting themes

Soil, water and sediments have to be consider together, both from the spatial dimension and from the competencies. It means to enforce an holistic and interdisciplinary approach rather than facing issues separately, from different sectors or disciplines. We know how to solve environmental problems technically, but the biggest issue is how to connect them: Which are the environmental economic and social costs behind decisions in planning for the environment? How to deal with communication and risk information towards stakeholders? How to improve the political-administrative system?
Specific research questions:
Demand:
• Rationalization and efficiency improvement of the political-administrative system (agencies):
Water management agencies in some Italian regions are supernumerary: for example, in Sicily region there are 7.000 agencies dealing with water compared to the 22.000 active in the whole Country. The administrative system has to be reviewed.
Why: This lack of efficiency has heavy economic consequences on the national and regional financial budget.
Natural capital:
• A new theory of value to associate with environmental issues:
This research need is focused on the aim of making nature’s economic values visible and mainstreamed into decision-making at all levels. A new theory of value (in economic terms) is needed in order to achieve this goal. A structured approach to valuation can help decision-makers to recognize the wide range of benefits provided by ecosystems and biodiversity.
Why: Demonstrating and capturing nature’s economic values in decision-making can contribute to sustainable development and to optimize decision making processes.
Land management:
• Supporting tools and methods for decision making:
How to optimize decision making among stakeholders? This is a high matter among NKS. Working groups shared with researchers, public institutions and with all the stakeholders are coveted. Technical decision analysis, decision making supporting systems and tools can be able to provide support throughout the decision process.
Why: Ensuring shared, transparent and reproducible decision making process is a societal commitment, also supported by the European legislation.

Net Impact:
• Risk Information and communication:
Effective communication of information and opinion on risks associated with real or perceived environmental hazards is an essential and integral component of risk management. Providing meaningful, relevant and accurate information, in clear and understandable terms targeted to specific audience, can led to more widely understood and accepted risk management decisions. Research and development of ICT tools and metrics, as well as guidelines on mitigation strategies and implementation methodologies, can contribute to effective risk communication.
Why: It’s very important to give appropriate information, especially to private stakeholders involved in remediation activities, about both the actual risk situation and the environmental, health and economic benefits related to the remediation activities. Because if nothing is done on this issue, the remediation procedures, as established by the law, risk to be definitively blocked.