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News Great success for the 6th "EUROPE-INBO 2008" conference

The annual "EUROPE-INBO 2008" conference of the European Basin Organizations on the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) took place in Sibiu, Romania, from 1st to 3 October 2008, at the invitation of the Romanian Authorities. It gathered 195 participants coming from 26 countries. This conference was an important step before the World Water Forum of Istanbul. A workshop on the IWRM-Net (European network of research programmes on IWRM) project was organized as a side event. Three workshops presented many case studies and exchanges were particularly fruitful. The EU-non-member countries were very present, proof of their growing interest in the WFD.

Workshop 1 - Preparation of the programmes of measures

Much work has been done. Experience shows that the preparation of programmes of measures requires multidisciplinary work and an in-depth study of the economic methods. The programmes of measures should be developed on relevant scales, not only catchment areas (basin, sub-basin), but also administrative scales (municipalities, provinces, districts, departments, regions), to guarantee the involvement of the local politico-administrative levels in the choice and the implementation of the measures. Discussions on financing (who will pay and how much?) are difficult... but impossible to circumvent. The effectiveness of the Programmes of Measures is conditioned by the recognition of its added value by the managers of the areas. Governmental services are the first to be involved in the Programmes of Measures (follow-up of the application of regulations, support to the project managers) and as the deadline of 2015 will come very quickly, it is necessary to launch the measures now, without waiting for their formal adoption at the end of 2009. Making for lost time is now urgent (agriculture, sanitation, groundwater) and the functional restoration of aquatic environments is of prime importance for achieving good ecological status (importance of hydromorphology). It is probable that a significant percentage of the Water Bodies will not reach good status in 2015 and that the implementation of the Programmes of Measures will require significant additional incomes.

Workshop 2 - Implementation of the Flood Directive

The Flood Directive provides an essential European framework. It gives a strong signal: it is not only a question of building defence infrastructures, but of adopting an integrated prevention policy. If dams and dikes are still needed, it is necessary to reduce their environmental impacts and they induce a false sense of security. The implementation of the Flood Directive and WFD should be closely coordinated, especially at the level of the Management Plans. The presentations showed the advantage of a proactive and integrated prevention policy: protection of wetlands and floodplains, good maintenance of rivers, integrated management of sediment transport, coordination between the riparian States of transboundary rivers, as well as the education of the populations are essential components of the protection of the people and properties. On the whole, the amounts invested in effective prevention are lower than avoided damage. It is necessary to foresee exceptional floods... the frequency of which should increase with climate change.

Attention should be paid to the coordination of the administration managers of risks and IWRM, who are sometimes different and on distinct territories.

Workshop 3 - Analysis of implementation in transboundary basins

The WFD gives real added value in transboundary basins, by providing a common reference framework (objectives, methods, deadlines, common planning documents). It increases exchanges of information and coordination between riparian States. It thus contributes to European integration. The role of the international commissions was underlined. But huge work is still needed and the basin organizations emphasized specific needs: providing more means to basin organizations and international commissions; harmonizing the economic analyses; developing common systems for monitoring and data management; giving more ambition to the roof section of the management plan; developing public consultation on an international district scale; organizing joint management of transboundary aquifers; better coordinating the management of floods/droughts and climate change; increasing support to neighbourhood countries (the Mediterranean, Eastern Europe, Balkans). The work completed in the international districts shared by EU and non-EU countries is encouraging. The WFD can also inspire other areas in the world, because its approach is transferable.

The "roof" sections of Management Plans and Programmes of Measures are still too much national "arrangements", the Member States being responsible before the Commission for the WFD implementation in what concerns them.

The participants wished that INBO plays a more important role in the WFD Common Implementation Strategy (CIS). Mr. Alfredo DI DOMENICANTONIO, Director of the Tiber Basin Authority was congratulated for the 2007-2008 Italian Presidency. He handed the Presidency to Mr. Marius POSTELNICESCU, Director General of the National Administration of Romanian Waters (Apele Romane) who was thanked for the organization of the conference and his warm welcome. The next conference will be held in the Ukraine in autumn 2009. The final resolutions, presentations and photographs are available on the website:

Contact information Jean - François DONZIER, INBO Permanent Technical Secretary, International Network of Basin Organizations, PERMANENT TECHNICAL SECRETARIAT: 21, rue de Madrid - 75008 PARIS (FRANCE)/ SIBICO (email:
Phone: +33 1 44 90 88 60 - Fax : +33 1 40 08 01 45
News type Inbrief
File link
Source of information INBO
Keyword(s) EU-WFD, River Basin Management, Flood Directive, transboundary basins
Geographical coverage Romania
News date 16/10/2008
Working language(s) ENGLISH , FRENCH