The Water Framework Directive (WFD) adopted in 2000 put forward an integrated approach for EU water policy, centered on the concept of river basin management with the objective of achieving good status of all EU waters by 2015.
However, as pointed out by the European Environment Agency's 2010 State of the Environment Report, the achievement of EU water policy goals appears far from certain due to a number of old and emerging challenges. The Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water Resources, in the shape of a European Commission Communication planned for 2012, will be the EU policy response to these challenges. The Blueprint will have the long-term aim to ensure sufficient availability of good quality water for sustainable and equitable water use. Its time horizon is closely related to the EU 2020 Strategy and, in particular, to the planned Resource Efficiency Roadmap. The Blueprint will be the water milestone on that Roadmap. However, the analysis underpinning the Blueprint will cover a longer time span, up to 2050, and will drive EU water policy for a longer period.
In the framework of the elaboration of the Blueprint, the European Commission is carrying out a number of assessments, which will provide the knowledge base for the development of policy options aiming to deliver better implementation, better integration and completion of EU water policy. These assessments consist in the assessment of the River Basin Management Plans under the WFD, the review of the EU action on Water Scarcity and Droughts, the assessment of the vulnerability of water resources to climate change and other man made pressures, the Fitness Check of EU freshwater policy in the framework of the Commission Better Regulation approach and a large number of other studies launched by DG Environment, DG Research, the Joint Research Centre, the European Environment Agency and others.
The Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water Resources will be accompanied by a thorough impact assessment to understand the potential environmental and socio-economic impacts of its policy options as well as by a number of reports covering its major strands.
Fotolia© Uwe Lütjohan
The Blueprint will be accompanied by considerable external communication, targeting stakeholders and the general public. In this context, the 3rd European Water Conference aims to contribute to the preparation of the Blueprint and related assessments.
The conference is organised by DG Environment of the European Commission and will take place in Brussels on 24-25 May 2012. The event is integrated in the Green Week 2012, which is organised in the Charlemagne premises in Brussels.
The 3rd European Water Conference will serve as a platform for consultation and debate between different stakeholders, Member States and the European Commission on the Blueprint policy options and on the accompanying impact assessment. Commercial members will be speaking about water reduction strategies in manufacturing everything from complex electronics like several different types of rice cookers to simple items like metal chopsticks and knives.
The sessions of the conference will include presentations on the themes of the sessions, moderated panel discussions and discussions with the audience. A live webcast will be available on the conference website.
The 3rd European Water Conference targets approximately 400 participants and participation is based on invitation only.
Ecologic Institute is engaged in a support contract with the European Commission for the organisation of this event.