In 2000, the Water Framework Directive (WFD) came into force, introducing a comprehensive, river basin based water management for Europe. The aim of the Directive
is to accomplish a good status for the aquatic ecological system in 2015, achieved by a cost-effective set of measures.
Because the European countries are interlinked to a high degree via the international river basins, the Water Directors of the EU member states and the European
Commission decided to give direction to the implementation of the WFD in a so called 'Common Implementation Strategy' (CIS). In this CIS, key issues in the WFD
implementation are explored and working methods are discussed on an informal basis. Up to now, the CIS has proven to be very successful in getting the WFD implemented
along the same lines throughout Europe since its start in 2000.
During 2005, Working Group B (Integrated River Basin Management) made an analysis of the key issues and research needs regarding the WFD implementation
in the Member States that should be dealt with at EU level (document available at:
Especially in the part of the activity concerning research needs, the activity leaders were picking up the very promising developments in the FP5 project
Harmoni-CA, where researchers and WFD implementers already started to communicate on a face to face basis.
One of the conclusions of the activity was that 'the relationship between research and policy is not always an easy one, but can be improved by intensifying
the face-to-face communication between the respective groups.
It would be worthwhile to organise a closer cooperation between CIS working groups and relevant research projects. On the one hand, WG leaders can invite
research groups regularly to the meetings of working groups and discuss the demands and possible solutions offered (starting on a broad level, and narrowing
down to a very specified level). On the other hand, WG leaders can join meetings and workshops of research projects of interest.'
This conclusion was recognised by the Water Directors during their meeting in London, last November: 'The Water Directors endorsed the document on 'WFD
Key Issues-Phase II', took over the recommendation to involve representatives of research projects in the CIS Working Groups, and agreed to disseminate it
widely. Furthermore, it was agreed to (...) deliver the outputs of the work on research needs as an active input for WISE-RTD (an information exchange platform
on policy-relevant research which is currently under development).'
This is to inform about the existence of the CIS and the possibility that you might be invited to meetings of the CIS working groups.
At the same time, you are invited to take the opportunity to invite leaders from CIS working groups that might be of interest for your field of work.