Interview with Agnieszka Romanowicz

Interview with Agniszka Romanowicz

Interview with Agnieszka Romanowicz

Policy officer and CIRCASA Officer Agnieszka Romanowicz from the European Commission DG for Agriculture and Rural Development was interviewed in the context of the CIRCASA European Workshop held on 2018, December 5th in Brussels. The workshop welcomed a range of European stakeholders on the Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) Sequestration field. Scientists, farmers, representatives of private industries and policy officers participated actively in the discussion about SOC sequestration management, barriers and solutions.

Brussels, December 5th, 2018

1) From your point of view, why is it so important for Policy officers to be present in this kind of events? What is their role in the discussion?

“Since CIRCASA is a policy driven-project, we have in this kind of stakeholders’ workshops, different representatives from the European Commission. First, at European level, there are policy officers from the Directorates-General (DGs) responsible for different policy areas. Then, at the local level, there are the commission officers, European representatives of the member’s states.

It is important for the CIRCASA project to have different points of views, different types of stakeholders and get a common understanding of the carbon sequestration in agricultural soils. Sometimes, scientists have a certain perception of how things should be done, and policymakers have other perceptions so you have to be able to bring everyone around the table and get to a common understanding. Those kind of meetings are an excellent opportunity to bring all stakeholders together and exchange each one’s knowledge and needs; especially to scientists and policy officers to discuss what is really possible to do in terms of taking action.

In terms of EU policy, we are now in a changing context, the next multi-annual financial framework is being discussed and thus, many policies are changing at the European level. For example, the common agricultural policy will be quite different by 2021, and agronomists have to be aware of this.

Those exchanges advantage both scientists and policymakers. Scientists can then understand which policies are changing; not every scientist is aware of the policy context of their country and even less at European levels. Scientists may be proposing and discussing something that has been already picked up on the agricultural policy or in the policy that will be applicable for the next policy cycle. On the other hand, policy officers can better understand what are the scientist or farmer’s needs at local, national and global levels. Having everybody around the table really makes their voice stronger, and helps each side to get a better grasp of what the other side is trying to do.

 

2) How do you see the articulation between science and policy nowadays?

“I think this question is very difficult for me because I am myself a scientist who is dealing with policy, I have always been on the interface between both.

From my perspective, the perception of science has changed a lot. Today, science is much closer to policy than before. Today, there are numbers of policymakers with scientific Ph.Ds., thus with a strong scientific background, they can understand both points of view. There are also all kinds of mixed people with different backgrounds at the EU commission, this diversity allows us to a better understanding of science and research needs.

Even policy officers without scientific background have now access to science; the perception of scientific research is changing because of the “opening of sciences”. New ways of communication, the internet, and the flow of information are very different than it used to be. Thanks to the scientific divulgation, science is more accessible; however, scientist and policy officers still have to work together for a better understanding as one leans on the other and vice versa. Most of the policy proposals include “impact assessment” based on scientific evidence, so the scientific evidence is the basis for making policy; this is why we have to work side by side.

The perception of sciences has also changed. For example, modeling was before understood as something which is not exact therefore cannot be trusted. Now we know that models are getting better so we do trust them in the sense that we take them as a part of the policy development.”

 

3) Concerning the different policy barriers mentioned today, how does the European Commission responds?

“Some of the policy barriers that were presented today are at the European level and some other are at the national level so you have different correspondents to deal with.

At the national level, you can tackle some barriers by investing more in agriculture extension services. The knowledge transfer barrier, for example, is something that we can tackle at a European level, and we are tackling it with the EIP Agri (European Innovation Partnership for sustainable agriculture management), with the focus groups and operational groups, that bring science closer to farmers and is making the group more multidisciplinary to foster competitive and sustainable farming.

There is also the Horizon 2020  EU research programme with projects that have a multi-actor approach (i.e. are involving all stakeholders) and thematic networks which answers farmer’s needs by building solutions together with scientists. H2020 is the largest source of EU public funding to support research and innovation at the European level and CIRCASA is one of those projects.

Finally, there are social barriers tackled by policy. Policy is a set of rules, and they are changing, they are adapting to the evolving society, the economic situation and the growing scientific knowledge.”

Photo_A_Romanowicz

Modification date : 28 August 2023 | Publication date : 09 January 2019 | Redactor : Sari Tanikawa