Support for policy planning in the field of water management

Water management in Serbia on its way into the future!

Although Serbia is not yet a member of the EU, there is a strong political will to bring water management and legislation into line with EU standards. The twinning project “Support for policy planning in the field of water management” offered an opportunity to operationalize new, holistic aspects. An international team of experts from Germany, Austria and the Netherlands supported the Serbian water administration in drawing up the first Serbian River Basin Management Plan. Due to close cooperation, the capacities of the Republic Water Directorate and Public Water Management Companies “Srbijavode” and “Vode Vojvodine” were realigned to the objectives of the Water Framework Directive (WFD). The directive is one of the EU’s most ambitious and holistic pieces of environmental legislation. Currently, most of the water ecosystems are not in good health yet. EU Member States must meet this target in order to preserve its water resources and tackle climate change issues. A milestone in water protection policy was reached with the joint creation of a management plan 2021- 2027 for Serbia, as comparable planning is currently undergoing in all EU MS.

Dr. Stephan von Keitz, the project’s Resident Twinning Advisor stated: “The results are relevant for Serbia as well as for the whole EU since water does not know borders. The measures described will help to achieve a long-term goal of good status for all rivers and groundwater, safeguard proper water supply, reduce water pollution and protect biodiversity. Substantial investments will be required in the next years, but cost efficiency aspects have been considered.

The 18-month long project will end in October 2020, but transnational cooperation in the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube will continue.

The Conference and the documents have been prepared by the Serbian water management bodies in close cooperation with experts from Austria, Germany and the Netherlands in the frame of the EU financed project “Support to policy planning in water management sector”, with CFCU as the contracting body.

The project was selected as a success story for Serbia by the EU Commission’s Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations. More information is available on the Commission’s website at: https://ec.europa.eu/neighbourhood-enlargement/sites/near/files/ezaf20001enn.pdf.

The Closing Conference will give an opportunity to representatives of EU Member States and Serbia to address the audience and give answers to the following questions:

• What are the challenges we face in Serbian rivers?

• What is in the Water Framework Directive for Serbia?

• What has been done in the last 18-month project runtime?

• What will be done in the next years?

Тhe twinning project “Support to policy planning in water management sector” is financed by European Union and worth EUR 1,500,000. The project will end in 2020.

This project presents a twinning partnership between Serbia, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands in the sector of integrated water management through the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive.