Solutions for water resource management in EU Neighbourhood countries

Half-time of the EUWI+ project, implemented by the Umweltbundesamt and its partners. Two years to go.

© Fotostudio Wilke

Vienna, 29 August 2018 – The aim of the transboundary project European Union Water Initiative Plus for the Eastern Partnership (EUWI+) is to improve sustainable management of water resources in six countries of the European Eastern Neighbourhood Policy. To this end, country specific development plans were developed and implemented, based on institutional capacity building agreements and a close cooperation during the first stages of implementation in selected river basis and national partner institutions. The Umweltbundesamt, the Environment Agency Austria (EAA), contributed to this cooperation in specific with know-how and experience of water monitoring and laboratory development. In this context, not only the technical knowledge of the Austrian experts is required in the EU's eastern partner countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Belarus and Ukraine), but also their experience in institutional capacity building. “With EUWI+ we provide, together with our partners, the necessary structures for secure access to clean water, and for the ecological functioning of waters”, emphasises the Environment Agency Austria’s managing director Georg Rebernig. “The ultimate aim is to contribute to a significant improvement of the environment in the eastern European Neighbourhood countries.”

EU Water Framework Directive provides support and direction

 

Following an extensive assessment of the existing situation and needs, EAA experts and partners identified measures to develop the sustainable management of water resources. These measures focus on river basin management plans, monitoring of groundwater and surface water bodies and its transboundary cooperation in coherence with the EU Water Framework Directive. This directive provides guiding for extensive water quality monitoring, which is to be significantly improved by EUWI+. The initial situation is different from country to country, based on their focus on water sector development over the last years. For example, the responsible partner laboratories in Moldova are quite well equipped and  already ISO accredited. In other countries, such as Azerbaijan, Armenia or Ukraine, more catching-up has to be done to allow for a sustainable development of the required laboratory and monitoring infrastructure. The acquisition of new laboratory and monitoring equipment, along with accompanying trainings, will significantly improve water monitoring infrastructures and processes in these countries by 2020.

 

European Water Conference in September

 

Experts from Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine will have the opportunity to exchange ideas with decision-makers, researchers and practitioners from the EU at the 5th European Water Conference, which will take place in Vienna on 20-21 September 2018. Their participation in the conference, which is supported by EUWI+, will also foster networking and the development of new relationships to members of the community.

The Environment Agency Austria in a nutshell

 

The Environment Agency Austria is Austria’s most important environmental expert institution and a leading adviser on environmental matters in Europe. The Environment Agency Austria stands for a transformation of the economy and society to ensure sustainable living and provides the basis for decision making at local, regional, European and international level.

The Environment Agency Austria has a demonstrable track record of successful projects in more than 60 countries – from the new EU Member States to the Western Balkans, the Middle East, the Maghreb countries and Asia. The Environment Agency Austria works as an adviser to UN and EU institutions and as a partner in more than 200 national, European and international networks, bodies, and working groups.

 

Further information:

Petra Kestler, Environment Agency Austria, Press Office, Phone: +43 1 313 04 5432