1. Context and objectives
The "EUROPE-INBO" group, created in Valencia, Spain, in 2003 by the European Basin Organisations of INBO for the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD), aims at enriching the implementation of water policies in Europe and the CIS works, through analyses directly resulting from the interested parties in the field. Indeed the "EUROPE-INBO" Group allows the Basin Organisations and District Authorities to regularly meet, in an informal way, for exchanging their practical experience, identifying the operational problems, making specific proposals for the WFD implementation, and disseminating the principles and tools of the European water directives to the EU neighbouring countries.
Capitalising on its past activities, EUROPE-INBO Group is proposing to involve all interested River Basin Authorities and Districts Competent Authorities in a collaborative work and permanent sharing of information about WFD implementation and river basin management planning.
The ultimate goal would be:
EUROPE-INBO is proposing to organise the exchanges in 2014 around two topics which appear as important issues in the context of implementing PoMs and preparing the second RBMPs:
- Communication to stakeholders based on monitoring results
- River restoration and Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRM)
These two themes are proposed to be studied in link with the CIS activities. Some others may be identified and planned later on, and the SCG members have been invited to propose additional subjects.
2. General functioning of the Network
Easing contacts and networking
In order to ease contacts between interested members, the first step is to develop and establish a River Basin Authorities database, with identification of contacts by main fields of competencies and interests.
Obviously and referring to the WFD - Article 3.8 (stating that "Member States shall provide the Commission with a list of their competent authorities") the list of RBDs competent authorities is providing a strong basis. However, this could be usefully complemented by the identification of other River Basin Authorities and relevant contacts related to various work areas.
Referencing this database will be done by the EUROPE-INBO Secretariat and contacts will, of course, be integrated on a voluntary basis.
Organizing technical exchanges on selected topics
Based on the past experiences and in order to develop a frame to the network activities, EUROPE-INBO would like to propose organising the exchanges in 2014 around two topics which appear as important issues in the context of implementing PoMs and preparing the second RBMPs :
The dedicated Monitoring workshop in 2013 was an opportunity to share the strategies and practicalities of monitoring in the context of WFD and the influence it could have on the implementation and monitoring of programs of measures. Taking stocks of those previous exchanges and the interest expressed by participants, it is proposed to extend the exchanges by focusing on the way to use the monitoring results to better link pressures and measures, and to identify best ways to communicate the results to the decision-makers and the public.
- River restoration extended to Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRM)
With regards to the WFD, the Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water has shown that diffuse pollution and hydromorphology are significant pressures affecting rivers. Therefore, more efforts have to be implemented to address these pressures in order to reach ecological good status of water bodies. One way forward is to better design the measures through integrated application of European directives such as Common Agriculture Policy, WFD, Flood directive, Habitat directive and renewable energy directive. In that sense, there is also an increasing policy interest in the so-called Natural Water Retention Measures (NWRM) for improving water status on hydromorphology and diffuse pollution, thanks to the works undertaken in the CIS 2013-2015 and the NWRM related service contract for the COM.
Therefore EUROPE-INBO's conference presents a great opportunity to mobilize river basin authorities and managers on river restoration and NWRM, It would be complementary to ECRR and other networks activities and jointly developed, with a view to increase awareness on these approaches, highlight their multiple benefits and links with other directives.. Participants will also exchange experiences on how to communicate on river restoration and NWRM implementation / benefits and how to mobilize stakeholders who could be involved in projects actual implementation.
These two themes are proposed to be studied in 2014 in links with the CIS activities. Some others may be identified and planned later on, and the SCG members are invited to propose additional subjects they would like to be covered in the next activities.
In any case the topics selected will be addressed notably on the occasion of dedicated workshops within the EUROPE-INBO yearly conference, and the results presented to the SCG or relevant CIS working groups later on. The EUROPE-INBO secretariat will liaise with the relevant CIS working groups when necessary, in order to make sure that no overlaps occurred and potential interest of working groups' members are identified.
In addition to workshops and in order to reduce the costs incurred by travels, we propose to develop electronic platforms to ease communication between network members:
- E-forum: use of existing electronic platform (Twitter and LinkedIn) will provide an opportunity for network members to discuss specific topics addressed by a facilitator;
- A newsletter will keep the network members up to date on important developments related to the different topics addressed. This newsletter will deal with the measurement of progress from the different topics summarizing major findings in order to help in the rapid dissemination of good practices.