European rivers still suffer pollution and damages. The 2018 European Water’s report finds that only around 40% of surface waters (rivers, lakes and transitional and coastal waters) are in good ecological status, and only 38% are in good chemical status.
The EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 states that at least 25,000 km of rivers should be restored into free-flowing rivers by 2030. The EU Commission will help to build a European Business for Biodiversity movement making it an integral part of the European Climate Pact. And the Farm to Fork Strategy is at the heart of the Green Deal with an urgent need to reduce dependency on pesticides, antimicrobials, reduce excess fertilisation, increase organic farming, improve animal welfare and reverse biodiversity loss.
For another year a diverse group of organizations has come together to support efforts aimed at improving and accelerating the water directives implementation, exploring new multi-stakeholder cooperation, and developing nature-based solutions to protect, restore and better manage rivers in Europe.
The 2021 European River Symposium is a continuation of an effort begun in 2013, with the convening of the first European River Symposium. The 2021 Symposium will highlight the changes to rivers and specific actions that have been brought about by the European Legislation (the Water Framework Directive) and most importantly the possibilities and opportunities presented by the European Green Deal and European Biodiversity Strategy. These new initiatives provide a significant basis for strengthening the efforts and actions to protect and restore rivers and their associated ecosystems and to ensure that rivers can continue to provide the services and benefits to people.
The 2021 Symposium will involve a mix of presentations which will set the stage for understanding rivers and the current political and legal climate in managing them (especially from the EU) followed by working groups and dialogue between actors interested in and affecting rivers. Special focus will be on alignment and exploration of interests between water users (water supply, navigation, agriculture, and hydropower) and conservation and planning and management authorities. Case studies and examples will be explored in more detail in these groups.
Stay tuned for more information on the registration and agenda will follow soon!