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Research project HarmoniCOP

The aim of the HarmoniCOP project (Harmonising Collaborative Planning; 2002 - 2005¸ Contract no.: EESD-ENV-2000-0257) was to improve the understanding of participatory river basin management and planning (RBMP) in Europe.

RBMP stands for integrated cross-sectional planning and management of river basins, if necessary across political and administrative borders. The project's objective was to generate practical information on participation processes in river basin management and to support the implementation of the public participation provisions of the European Water Framework Directive (WFD).

Stakeholder and public participation in river basin management and planning is a prerequisite for the successful implementation of the WFD. Specific emphasis was put on the understanding of processes of social learning as a prerequisite to implement novel management strategies and to bridge science-policy gaps of public participation in RBMP.

At the end of the project, a handbook on public participation was published in order to provide guidance on how to design a stakeholder process for developing a river basin management plan. The handbook supports the implementation of the public participation provisions of the WFD. The project led to the accumulation of human (individual expertise) and social capacities inherent in the network of researchers and stakeholder groups.

The HarmoniCOP project is supported by European Union's 5th Framework Programme for Research and Development, and by the European Commission as part of its programme on Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development (contract no.: EESD-ENV-2000-02-57)

The USF Osnabrück led Work Package 7 "Handbook" and was responsible for the overall coordination of HarmoniCOP.

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