The EU Water Framework Directive: Beyond the analysis of the partial success

The chairman of the EEAC Working Group on Fresh Water Affairs launched today (12/7/2019) the mainline summary of the working group’s latest event, entitled ‘The EU Water Framework Directive: Beyond the analysis of the partial success’.

The mainline summary is structured along the lines of the three main themes (1. Funding, 2. Economic thinking and 3. A systemic approach). It includes an introduction (starting point of the debate) to each of the themes, a status report and a summary of suggested solutions to overcome the issues affecting the three main themes. At the end of the document, some preliminary recommendations are presented, with the aim of supporting discussions in the EEAC’s member councils on the topic of the implementation of the WFD, as well as its future.

The summary, and the preliminary recommendations contained within it, were drawn up by Jan Verheeke in his capacity as Chair of the EEAC Working Group on Fresh Water Affairs. They are not directly binding on the three speakers, the participants to this round-table session, nor to the advisory councils that are part of the EEAC Working Group on Fresh Water Affairs. However, Jan Verheeke stated that he sincerely hopes that the summary proves useful in some shape or form towards achieving the targets of the Water Framework Directive by 2027. Read More

The EU Energy Union: let’s engage in learning from each other

In line with the EU Energy Union governance regulation, Member States need to draft Integrated National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs). These NECPs need to cover ten-year periods (middle-long term focus) starting from 2021 running to 2030, with a clear link to 2050 (long term focus). Within this 10-year cycle, it is possible for the Member States to adapt their National Integrated Climate and Energy Plans, so as to take into account the changing circumstances. For the period 2021-2030, the Member States can thus update their plans in 2024.

From 2021 onwards, Member States have to report on the progress they made in implementing their NECPs, this will take place on a two-yearly basis (short term focus). The variety of terms (long-;middle-; short term) offers on the one hand a stable basis (investors security for a 10 year period with a link to 2050), while on the other hand the cycle includes sufficient short term focus to ensure adequate flexibility for adaptation; improvement and implementation of lessons learned by Member States.

All in all, the EU governance structure requires that the NECPS are in line with EU and global long-term strategies and goals as well as include integrated reporting, monitoring and data publication mechanisms. Consequently, the EU Energy Union regulation will largely determine the overarching governance framework within which the climate and energy transition will take place in EU Member States. This means that it also sets a framework in which advisory work on the climate and energy transition will take place.

What did the EEAC Working Group on Energy and Climate Change do?

The EU Energy Union Governance Regulation is uncharted territory. There are no blueprints showing how best to operate in this context, and flexibility and a willingness to learn are required. All stakeholders – including advisory bodies – need to engage in a learning curve. The EEAC Working Group on Energy and Climate Change offers an operational framework for participative learning and exchange among fellow advisory bodies and external parties.

An initial stock-taking exercise has served to kick off this process. Advisory bodies filled in a questionnaire, providing valuable information and insights on how EU Member States are preparing their ‘National Energy and Climate Plans’ for December 2019. The input provided by these bodies is synthesised and summarised in an EEAC stock taking note that was used to identify common challenges and proposed solutions.

Round table

The findings were offered to several external experts for analysis during a working group session that took place in Brussels on July 2nd, 2019. A selection of national, subnational and European stakeholders joined advisory bodies on environment; sustainable development and climate change with a view to information-sharing and informed debate. A summary document of the meeting will be published soon. Below you will find the introduction presentation and the programme.

Hungarian SD Council submits proposal on the protection of natural heritage and the sustainable use of natural resources

The Hungarian National Council for Sustainable Development (NFFT) urges to promote social agreement in order to protect natural resources and their services essential for human existence and to maintain social prosperity thus serving the public good. This proposal exclusively focuses on the natural, environmental aspects of the sustainability shift but we would like to stress that the centre point of the National Framework Strategy on Sustainable Development is people and that the Council has always emphasized the crucial importance of the human and social dimension of sustainable development including the significance of common values and communities based on solidarity and love, in the transition to sustainability. Read More