The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety has recently released a policy paper ‘Climate change and the European water dimension –Enhancing resilience’ following the Conference held between 4 and 5 November 2020.
This policy paper results from the deliberations at the conference and provides recommendations for the European Commission and EU Member States on how to increase water-related climate resilience and initiate the transformational change required to ensure resilience in the future. Key points are:
- Climate change is already affecting people, the economy and the environment in Europe as the temperatures have repeatedly broken long-term records in recent years and are projected to further increase.
- Climate change impacts primarily manifest in changes to the water cycle, including extreme events such as droughts and floods, but also gradual, yet significant effects on water availability, quality, and water-related ecosystems
- Sustainable and climate-resilient water management is a critical building block for the overall climate-resilience of economic sectors, ecosystems and society at large. It is thus crucial for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda.
- In the face of increasing pressure on water resources, however, the incremental adaptation of water management to changing climate conditions will, in many places, not ensure resilience in the future. More systemic and transformational change will be required in the way water is managed, used by various sectors, and valued by society.
- European institutions play a key role in establishing the framework conditions that enable all relevant actors in the Member States to accelerate efforts to enhance water and climate resilience.
The paper not only provides input for the current political debate but it also aims to influence targeted EU initiatives to enhance adaptation efforts at EU, Member State and transboundary levels. It builds a background analyses in more detail the observed and expected climate change impacts, adaptation measures adopted to date, required action and possible entry points for EU activities. Read the full paper here.