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Results so far : 12th Thematic Seminar on Lobby & Advocacy

Date: 25-01-2012 - 26-01-2012
Time: 09:00 - 18:00
Location: Forli


The 12th seminar will be organized January 25th & 26th 2012 by the province of Forli Cesena. The subject of the seminar is Lobby & Advocacy.



Flood risk management in the catchment of Cesenatico
The seminar started with an introduction on the subject. After this general introduction, the case of the Flood risk management works in the catchment of Cesenatico was presented by the River Basin Authority.
A flood in October 1996 was responsible for extreme precipitation in the plains of Bologna, Ravenna, Forlì - Cesena & Rimini. The result: 1400 Km2 flooded area, 500 persons evacuated, 40.000 citizens and 12.000 buildings affected. The main sources of floods were not rivers, but the drainage canal network on land originally occupied by agricultural activities, that has witnessed intense urban development during the last decades.

The town centre of Cesenatico suffers from high sea levels. Protection from surge has been designed through a system of along-shore levees and the closing of the harbour mouth with sluice gates (“porte vinciane”). The Cesenatico catchment is drained by 4 main discharging in the harbour (“Porto Canale”) of Cesenatico. When sea surge blocks discharge through the harbour mouth, it is necessary to let a flow of 190 cms (with a return period of 200 years) be discharged to the sea somewhere else. For that reason a plan was developed to reshape and resize an existing canal.

Lobby: usefull but also a risk
In the presentation the representative made clear how Lobby and advocacy from different groups forced the government to review the plans. In the end, the government decided to build a smaller canal with extra flood detention areas to store the water in case of floods. The works became much more expensive and the safety increased not as much as in the original plan.

After this presentation a representative of the Civil Protection Unit Provincia di Forli-Cesena presented in general how they deal with Lobby and Advocacy and more in special their point of view regarding the case as described above.
Finally, mr. Gallina Piero, former president of the Province of Forli Cesena, pointed out his experience with the lobby process in the Cesenatico case.

Other examples
In the second part of the morning and in the afternoon, the other partners presented their experience with the subject. Epirus used the case of the designing of a natural gas pipeline and the way people and bodies were trying to influence decision makers, as a example of the lobby and advocacy processes in Thesprotia.

SHS mentioned as a good example the lobby from all involved municipalities regarding the new railway line for cargo transport “de Betuweroute”. They also presented the methods and strategy of the ‘public affairs department” in the Province of South Holland.

The project manager of Mirandela told the other partners how in 2009 a group of energy suppliers wanted to build a dam in the District of Bragança. The chosen area was in a forest area. For building the dam it was necessary to cut 239ha with protected trees. The government requires that, when is necessary to cut a forest for a national interest, the same area needs to be planted in another place In the area of the Municipality of Mirandela there was a large fire, a few years earlier, where there was a significant loss of forest resources. Thanks of a successful lobby strategy the result was the reforestation of 80 ha of the same kind of Protected trees in the Municipality of Mirandela.

Tallinn explained why it is so important for risk mitigation in Tallinn North to have a good lobby strategy and how the local MiSRaR working group deals with it. Mitigation planning can be blocked, vetoed or changed on a state level and here the lobby & advocacy is necessary to forward good thoughts on risk mitigation.

EPF presented the example how the lobby process was done for a more efficient and modern way of cleaning roads in winter and combating extreme weather. The lobby was done by meetings with the mayor, councillors and politicians. Also the media were used and citizens were involved.
At the Municipal Council sessions comparisons were made with other cities, collecting and presenting information about good practices for road cleaning.

Fieldtrip to the waterworks
The second day, the participants visited the mitigation hydraulic works in the area of Cesenatico. In the afternoon, the group discussed about the lessons learnt by the presentations and the best strategy for lobby & advocacy. Lobby seems to be a important contribution to reach mitigation goals but also is a threat if other groups are lobbying against mitigation plans. Also the ethical site of lobby was discussed.

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