The ongoing context has put a stronger focus on the EU’s water resilience and stewardship – yet, the European Commission in February decided to shelve the publication of its Water Resilience Initiative, largely because of protests from farmers across the bloc and calls from mainly right-wing forces to put a pause to the EU’s environmental requirements. Despite criticism from several policymakers, NGOs, and even industry bodies, the European Commission says it is still working and putting attention to the topic of water resilience.

Currently, the main legislation governing the EU’s water management is the Water Framework Directive, which since 2000 tackles water pollutants. However, implementation of this directive remains poorly implemented in several parts of Europe.

EU member states have continuously identified financing as one of the main bottlenecks to implementing the bloc’s water legislation since public financing alone cannot support climate adaptation measures. Wouter Vermeulen, VP for Sustainability & Public Policy at Coca-Cola in Europe, explained the role that the private sector has played in collaboration with WWF, an “unlikely bedfellow”, to restore the ecosystems at the Danube River Basin. “[The initiative] has tangibly and meaningfully improved nature, brought biodiversity back, and also actually got support from farmers and local communities.” The Coca-Cola Foundation invested €4.5 million in this project, which helped unlock additional public and private sector investments. “Without that initial funding, we wouldn’t have had any additional funding,” said WWF’s Beckmann.

Source: Euractiv


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