The improvement in the implementation of EU water policy and its better integration into other policies was highlighted on the first day of the Informal meeting of Ministers for the Environment and Climate Change, which took place at the “Filoxenia Conference Centre”, in Lefkosia (Nicosia).
During the first day of the Informal meeting of Ministers for the Environment and Climate Change, there was a clear consensus that water policy needs to be better implemented and integrated into other EU policies, in particular the Common Agricultural Policy and the Regional Policy.
“There is a general understanding that the current EU legal and policy framework for water is largely adequate for addressing the key challenges”, said the Cyprus Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, Mr. Sofoclis Aletraris, who presided the Council. The minister presented the Cyprus Presidency conclusions of the first day of the meeting at a Press Conference, held jointly with the European Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Janez Potočnik.
Mr. Aletraris stated that the aim of the Cyprus Presidency, which was to encourage a fruitful discussion between the ministers to develop concrete proposals, was fulfilled. The latter will contribute to the final shape of the Blueprint to Safeguard Europe’s Water Resources, as well as to relevant Council Conclusions, to be adopted next December at the Council of Environment Ministers.
Some of the Presidency’s main closing remarks are:
It was underlined that there is no “one-size fits all” solution that satisfies all needs and circumstances and that the specificities of Member States should be taken into account.
- It was also emphasised that reliable funding is key for implementing the measures.
Efficiency in water use
During the meeting, it was highlighted that actions such as, achieving a more efficient water governance, improving the knowledge base, managing water demand, protecting water ecosystems, increasing the availability of clean water, improving drought management, increasing the use of economic instruments, promoting innovation and strengthening global cooperation are key priorities at an EU level that foster integration and implementation of water policy.
Furthermore, it was acknowledged that rising water demand and the impacts of climate change are expected to increase the pressure on water resources and phenomena such as water scarcity, droughts and floods. Therefore, the importance of increased efficiency in water use and improved resilience to extreme weather events was underlined.
Finally, recommendations to improve the uptake of such measures were made, based on reliable data and information, the establishment of European Standards on water re-use and the setting up of water efficiency targets.
The meeting is attended by 40 Ministers for the Environment and Climate Change or other Heads of Delegations from all Member States of the European Union, the acceding or candidate countries or other countries that have a special relationship with the European Union, the European Commissioners for Environment and Climate Action, the Chairman of the Committee for the Environment, Public Health and Food Security of the European Parliament and representatives of the Secretariat of the Council of the EU.
The meeting will be completed tomorrow, with the discussion on adaptation to climate change.
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Watch the press conference here