Special session of the 8th World Water Forum "Continued funding for research"
The European Union - Brazil Sector Dialogues Support Facility took part of the panel, which proposed ways to strengthen and improve human resources training and capacity building initiatives, as well as defining strategies for communicating and disseminating ideas and solutions to problems related to availability and water quality in an efficient manner, adaptable to different local realities.
The Deputy Head of the Eco-Innovation Unit – DG for Research and Innovation of the European Commission, Dr. Panagiotis Balabanis, highlighted the European Union's R&I funding actions, which had already invested € 635 million by 2017 to promote efficient policies in water management and to strengthen international cooperation in water research and innovation in the scope of supporting the implementation of UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Balabanis explained the types of activities fostered by the Horizon 2020 Program, the largest EU program for supporting research – from basic to applied – and innovation projects, with an investment forecast of around € 80 billion between 2014 and 2020. "Among the projects that can receive funding from Horizon 2020 are the promotion and strengthening of public-public and public-private partnerships in the water sector, the formulation of public policies based on scientific evidence and regulatory actions."
Dr. Dominique Darmendrail presented the JPI Water, which is formed by 22 member countries, 3 observer countries and the European Commission. The initiative, which was originally focused on the EU, now includes countries such as Moldova, Israel, Turkey and South Africa. According to Dominique, these countries received 98 percent of the public resources spent by member countries on JPI Water projects, which work from a strategic water research and innovation agenda to address the challenges of freshwater, groundwater, transitional water, and coastal water.
Brazil has been a partner country of the JPI Water since last year and has already participated, through CONFAP, in two calls with cofinancing resources from the Brazilian states that supported the calls. "Since 2013, there have been five calls for selecting projects. The current call, supported by Brazil, seeks proposals on sustainable management of water resources; strengthening socio-economic approaches to water management; and supporting tools for sustainable integrative management of water resources", explained Dominique.
The Secretary for Research and Development Policies and Programs of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications (MCTIC), Dr. Álvaro Prata, highlighted the role of the public sector in finding solutions to water challenges and praised partnerships like the one that Brazil has with the EU. "Many countries in the developed world have already perceived problems related to water and there are many funds that support research projects, notably in Brazil, which has the largest source of fresh water on the planet. In these cooperations, we can benefit from the financial support and the qualification of these international institutions, "said Prata, whose ministry has projects supported by the EU - Brazil Sector Dialogues.
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