Agenda Tevere has started the procedure that will conduct to the creation of the first river’s contract dedicated to the Tiber in the urban area of Rome (the Contract will involve the area of the river that goes from Castel Giubileo – north part of the city – to the Foce – the final part of the river, in Fiumicino).

Credits to:


I have already analysed Agenda Tevere (hereinafter AT) and its genesis [1].

In this article I will focus on the tool that AT promotes and wants to apply to the roman river: the river’s contract. I will analyze the tool of the river’s contract and the benefits deriving from its creation, and then I will describe the procedure that AT (and the Committee for the promotion of the River’s Contract) is following in order to achieve this result and the actual state of the art of the abovementioned procedure.


The river’s contracts

The river’s contracts (hereinafter RC) are new tools based on the voluntary agreement between local authorities and privates as a form of negotiated and shared planning procedure[2]. This tool aims to the realization of a participated planning concertation and to the elaboration and implementation of water resources management [3]. The river’s contract is a tool specific for fluvial area’s recovery. It develops a path that leads to the definition of a contract and whose pillars are[4]:

  • sharing a clear objective;
  • signing an agreement among citizens (both civil society organizations and social innovators are involved in the definition of citizens), municipalities (public administrations), privates and the other partners involved;
  • finding sponsor who are available to fund the actions in order to reach the set objective.

This tool is born in France in the ‘80s of the twentieth century (the first RC – Contrat de Rivière was signed in 1983[5]). The creation of the RCs was promoted also by the EU (by the European Parliament and the Council), that sanctioned the Water Framework Directive, in which was provided a framework for the implementation of integrated policies for water resources management[6]. This document promotes the start of processes for citizens’ consultation and active participation.


The Italian experience

In Italy the first RCs were sanctioned in the first years of 2000. In 2003 the General Management for Water Resources and Public Utility Services of Lombardy Region started the procedure for the signing of the RC of River Olona’s basin. From that moment other RCs were started for many rivers of the Region. Then the Lombardy Region was emulated by other regions of Northern Italy, first of all by the Piedmont Region (that in 2007 started thinking the RCs as a possible way to implement the Water Protection Plan), and then by many others.

In Italy the RC is defined as an agreement between subjects that have competence in the management (and the use of) the water resources, in territorial planning and in the environmental protection. The process generated by the RC has a strong impact on the management and care of the water resources and the territory surrounding the rivers, contributes to hydraulic risks prevention and to the local development. This tool aims to achieve the objectives established in the European framework of the EU Water Framework Directive (2000/60/CE)[7] and of the Directive on the assessment and management of flood risks (2007/60/CE)[8].

The RC is aimed at[9]:

  • coordinating public intervention by the several institutional levels;
  • rationalizing and integrating public resources;
  • stimulating and boosting private investments.

At the national level, in 2007 was created the first Italian “National Table of the River’s Contracts”, in a period in which the diffusion was limited to the Northern regions. In 2010 was adopted a National Chart of the River’s Contracts” and in 2017 the Italian Ministry of the Environment created a “National Observatory of the River’s Contracts”.



RCs and Co-governance

The RC is based on the principles of horizontal and vertical subsidiarity and promotes Co-governance processes. In facts the RCs often involve the five actors of the quintuple helix model[10]. In this process of urban governance are involved: 1) active citizens, commoners, social innovators, city makers, local communities; 2) public authorities; 3) private actors (national or local businesses; small and medium enterprises; social business); 4) civil society organizations and NGOs; 5) knowledge institutions (schools and universities).

Credits to:


Those five actors are well represented in the case taken into consideration in this article, the one of the Tiber’ RC.

credits to: Paola Verdinelli, President of Agenda Tevere



The procedure for the Tiber’ RC

Agenda Tevere (AT) has promoted the creation of the Committee of the RC’ promoters and the drafting of the Declaration of Intent that has started the procedure that will conduct to the RC for the Tiber in the urban area of Rome. The procedure started on 28th June 2017. On 29th November 2017 the Lazio regional authority gave its official assent to the start of the procedure.

I will now briefly describe the meetings of the Committee of the RC’ promoters:


  • the first meeting was hosted on the 20th December 2017 by the Rome municipality, the Campidoglio, and represented a crucial turning point for AT and for the Committee of the RC’ promoters. It represented the official starting point of the procedure and a moment of public dissemination of the expected results and the state of the art of the Tiber. This was an important moment because it included the Tiber in the governmental agenda and allowed the inhabitants of Rome to know the ongoing process.

Credits to: Alessandro Antonelli, author of the article


  • the second meeting took place on the 30th January 2018. During this meeting the promoters have defined and formalized the structure and the governance rules of the procedure for the RC. AT has proposed to the Committee a governance structure that foresees the creation of an Inter Institutional Committee and a Technical Secretariat. The Committee of the RC promoters ratified this proposal. This meeting intended to let the work of the Committee begin. It has been successful in defining the governance scheme of the procedure.

Credits to: Alessandro Antonelli, author of the article, and Paola Cannavò, member of the Agenda Tevere Board of Directors


  • the third meeting took place on 19th March 2018. The agenda of the meeting included: the analysis of the programmatic decision in which were listed the priorities and objectives of the first working phase of the procedure; the formulation of the proposal of hypothesis for the creation of the working groups that had to implement the actions and to achieve the results expected during this first phase. During this meeting was underlined the importance of coordinating this RC with the others of the Lazio region. It was also proposed the drafting of a programmatic decision.

Credits to: Alessandro Antonelli, author of the article


  • the fourth meeting of the Committee of the RC’ Promoters was held on the 9th July 2018. During this meeting the pillars of the Programmatic Document were discussed and amended by the Promoters. The approval of this document was important in order to define the roadmap of the procedure that will bring the Committee to the drafting of the RC. The steps enounced in the document are: the creation of the governance organisms (already discussed and approved during the meeting held on the 30th January 2018), the phase of data survey (in which the Committee has to identify the potential and the criticality of the area taken into account by the RC, by examining the existing data), the consequent definition of the strategy at the basis of the action plan. The procedure was at that point in the phase prior to the survey phase.

Credits to: Alessandro Antonelli, author of the article


  • the fifth meeting was held on the 9th November 2018 in the offices made available by the Rome Municipality for the RC. During this appointment the composition of the two governance bodies, the Inter Institutional Committee and the Technical Secretariat, was defined. LabGov.City – LABoratory for the GOVernance of the city as a commons was appointed as one of the members of the Inter Institutional Committee. Professor Christian Iaione, scientific co-director of LabGov, was appointed as the coordinator of one of the working tables of the Technical Secretariat, the one that will develop the Governance model of the projects that will start along the banks of the Tiber. This meeting was very important because it marked the real start of the working phase.

Credits to: Alessandro Ricca, Secretary of Agenda Tevere


Inter Institutional Committee:

  • the first meeting of the Inter Institutional Committee was held on 7th December 2018 in the headquarter of the municipality of Fiumicino. The Committee ratified the internal Rules of Procedure and defined the calendar of meetings, in line with the one of the Technical Secretariat. Paola Cannavò, member of the Board of Directors of AT, of the Scientific Committee of LabGov and of the Co-Roma working team, as the coordinator of the Technical Secretariat, reported the results of the first meeting of the Secretariat, in which had been scheduled the timelines of the Secretariat work plan and the connected objectives. The Committee ratified the proposals of the Secretariat.

Credits to: Alessandro Antonelli, author of the article



Technical Secretariat:

  • the first meeting of the Secretariat took place on the 20th November 2018. During this appointment the Secretariat defined the timelines and the connected objectives. The Secretariat also defined the thematic issues of the various working groups composing the structure and identified the coordinators for each working group.
  • The second meeting was held on 7th December 2018. During this meeting each working group presented the objectives and members of the w.g. itself.
  • The third meeting was held on 11th January 2019. During this meeting each group presented the documentation available for each issue and the work plan.



AT has narrated the ongoing process on public occasions, such as for example during the meeting organized in Fiumicino (the Municipality near Rome that is involved in the procedure and is signatory oh the Declaration of intent for the RC of the Tiber) and held on the 4th June 2018, or in occasion of the first Conference of the National Observatory of the RCs.

Credits to:


AT has also narrated the ongoing process and the tool of the RC to the academic community and the university. An example is given by the workshop organized by EDU@LabGov, the non-formal educational platform based on the model of the in-house clinic organized by LabGov at LUISS University of Rome[11]. The workshop, that took place on 17th November 2018, was entirely dedicated to the narration of what AT was doing at the time, to the state of the Tiber (and of the whole city of Rome) and to the RC[12].


Credits to:



Next steps

The procedure that will bring to the conclusion of the RC for the Tiber will be composed by two phases.

The first phase will be a data survey (based on the existing data on the state of the river). During this phase each working group composing the Technical Secretariat will study the available data and identify the criticalities. Action guidelines will also be defined. Finally, the Technical Secretariat will identify a place of experimentation along the riverbanks, where to launch a pilot project.

During the second phase the working groups will define a common strategy and a series of pilot projects that will be included in the first three-year Action Plan.


LabGov coordinates the working group which focuses on the governance model of the projects that will be launched on the floodplains of the Tiber. If you are interested in contributing to this working group you can contact me at: or .




[1] The article is available here:

[2] D. Cialdea & S. Cacucci, The river’s contract: an opportunity for new landscape planning activities, Int. J. of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics, Vol. 12, No. 3, WIT Press, 2017.

[3] S. Guerra, Disputed or Shared Territory? The Italian Experience of River Contract: New Relationship between River and its Region, Planum – The Journal of Urbanism, 2012.

[4] The following list is provided in S. Guerra, 2012.

[5] More information are available here:

[6] More information are available here:

[7] Available here:

[8] Available here:

[9] The following list was extrapolated by S. Guerra, 2012.

[10] The model of the quintuple helix system of urban governance is available in C. Iaione, The Co-city, The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 2016


[12] The article describing the meeting is available here: