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WFD meets CAP

As a result of more than five years of discussions and negotiations, the EU Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) entered into force in 2000. The Directive sets a framework for the protection of all waters with the aim of reaching a “good ecological status” of all Community waters by 2015. The successful implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) depends strongly on agricultural land use, which is mainly influenced by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Over time, the spectrum of topics discussed has been widened and new challenges coming from climate change, bioenergy production and increasing water scarcity and droughts have been incorporated.

Acknowledging this, the Water Directors agreed in June 2004 to take action in the field of agriculture and water management. To this aim they established an EU Strategic Steering Group (SSG) on WFD and Agriculture, which is currently led by the UK, France and the Environment Directorate-General of the European Commission with technical support from the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (RD). During the work realised in 2005-2006, the EU Strategic Steering Group on Agriculture (SSG) mainly focused its activity on identifying the gaps between WFD requirements and what the existing CAP may deliver. All papers produced can be found in the background section of this website.

However, the level of analysis possible under the 2005/06 mandate was limited regarding potential measures, as the analysis took place before the publication of the river basin management plans and their associated programmes of measures (that must be drafted by 2008 and adopted by 2009). Few practical case studies were therefore available and part of this work remains theoretical.

In order to address these gaps, the SSG decided to focus specifically on the compilation of alternative ideas, measures and solutions and their impacts into a catalogue of measures. This catalogue should also bring together the experiences and knowledge available in the Member States. A version of the catalogue of measures can be found here.

For its work program for 2007 to 2009, the SSG decided to focus on the exchange of information and to asess the national rural development programs under the CAP. Such an assessment is also needed to design the specific implementation rules of Art 38 RDR, which in particular focuses on the implementation of the WFD, and also to draw lessons learned for the further development of EU agricultural and rural areas policies.

Part of the work carried out by the SSG are regular meetings but also large scale conferences. The 2008 event is the fourth conference in a series of conferences (London 2005, Vienna 2006, Paris 2007) directed towards stakeholders and policy-makers from the agricultural and water sectors in EU-27 Member States and will focus on the linkages between the WFD and the CAP.

Ecologic supported the SSG from the beginning.






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