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Water Governance in light of the review of the WFD

3 February 2017

On 1 February the working group ‘Agriculture and Water management’ of the Intergroup on ‘climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development’ met to discuss the ‘water governance in light of the review of the Water Framework directive’. The meeting was chaired by MEP Michel Dantin and saw the intervention of speakers bringing different perspectives and the large attendance of MEPs, assistants and stakeholders.

The head of the ‘Clean Water’ unit of the DG Environment of the European Commission, Ms Bettina Doeser, highlighted the success and the weknesses of the WFD over the past 15 years. She also stressed the future challenges that the review, scheduled for 2019, will have to address: land use intensification, climate change, and pressures from various sectors. Mainstreaming water policy in other policies is crucial and for this reason the environment and the agriculture Commissioners are taking important steps to finally end the inconsistencies between agricultural policy and water policy. The implementation of the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals will also contribute in improving water governance. 

Aziza Akhmouch, Head of the OECD Water Governance Programme, presented the ongoing work of the OECD Water Governance Initiative and the 12 Principles on Water governance. She remarked that the phylosophy underpinning the WFD inspired other OECD countries’ water legislation. She outlined current policy trends that may have an impact on water governance: territorial reforms, fiscal consolidation and digital reforms. Ms Akhmouch traced the next steps to measure the progress of countries in attaining good water governance such as the development of indicators and the sharing of good practices. 

The President of EurEau, Bruno Tisserand, drew the difference between water governance and water services governance, with a specific focus on the roles and responsibilities of water services and how the latter interact with municipalities, regulators, citizens and other stakeholders that play different roles in the governance of water resources.

Mr André Flajolet, Président of the Artois Picardie Basin Committee, warned against losing the basin perspective when dealing with local circumstances as this would entail a fragmentation of approaches, while a more global vision, at the scale of basins, is needed in water governance.             

From IUCN, Mr Alejandro Iza, presented the work of IUCN on the international level and how they contribute promoting integrated water management in Asia, Africa and South America.  

A report from the meeting will be available shortly here. 


Water matters. EU matters.

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