Citizen Observatories (COs) emerged, especially in the last decade, as a virtual and physical place where citizens and decision makers cooperate to gather and share information to promote innovative and shared solutions that impact society and the environment. COs are a means to achieve large scale data collection and interpretation and thus provide an important basis for long term planning as well as emergency response (e.g. to flooding, drought, pollution events, etc.).
The COWM International Conference is a biennial event that has been organized since 2016. The past editions brought together specialists in water and soil resources management, natural risk management, and environmental protection. Attendees comprised members of international academic communities, professionals, representatives of public agencies, businesses and engineering companies. The meeting stimulated and promoted both research and real world applications. The event has drawn experts from around the world, confirming the international significance and the level of development of initiatives of data collection, evaluation and elaboration based on the collective intelligence of citizens.
The 2020 edition will address new challenges for integrated water cycle management and risk management. The Conference will provide an opportunity to discuss the potential of citizen science as a tool for the development of resilient communities and for the protection of cultural heritage. Methods and technologies to support COs will be presented, including innovative data collection tools, advanced water models and platforms for user-friendly data visualization.
The 2020 edition will focus also on the long-term sustainability of citizen science projects and their legal and ethical implications. The event will provide opportunities to engage with researchers, policymakers and practitioners who are actively involved in improving citizen science initiatives and to exchange experiences about innovative technologies that can be employed to raise awareness on ecosystem protection, water management and natural hazards.
Participants will discuss the ever-increasing development of Citizen Observatories to empower the society, improve policy-making and resilience at the community scale, and meet the challenges of the European Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) and Flood Directive (2007/60/EC).