On July 23 to 25, 2013, some fifty scientists from European and Eastern Mediterranean countries gathered in Chania, Crete, Greece for a conference on “Sharing data and information in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East” (www.cyi.ac.cy/rd/dareclimedevent.html). The conference was jointly organized by The Cyprus Institute and the University of Crete and marked the conclusion of the EU-DARECLIMED project, which was carried out by scientists from seven institutions and five countries. The project was coordinated by Prof. Manfred Lange, Director of The Cyprus Institute’s Energy, Environment and Water Research Center (EEWRC). The Cyprus Water Development Department, the Electricity Authority of Cyprus and the Cyprus Meteorological Service also participated in the conference and significantly contributed to the project.
The main objectives of the DARECLIMED project are to prepare and advance the creation of a regional data infrastructure devoted to climate, water, energy and related topics. It furthermore aims at engaging relevant entities into an integrated study of regional climate change, its impact and the associated policy issues related to mitigation and adaptation. The innovative nature of the project lies in the fact that strong linkages and synergies between climate, the energy- and the water sectors in each country of the Eastern Mediterranean require an integrated approach to a repository that considers data on all three sectors in concert.
The issues of climate change, water scarcity and energy security and the needs to provide data and information on these issues to decision makers and the scientific community have been extensively discussed during the conference. An important topic that attracted significant attention dealt with the opportunities and challenges of obtaining such data and of making them available in an effective and user-friendly way.
The conference ended with the adoption of the “Chania Declaration”, which was signed by most of the participants. The declaration calls upon decision makers and the providers of data and information on climate, energy and water to enhance the free and unrestricted access to data and information, to ensure that data ownership and intellectual property rights -while strictly observed– do not limit the appropriate use of data and information and to agree on internationally established quality standards and data harmonization, in order to facilitate the inter-comparison of data and information.