Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - ESWG 2007-2010 (European Sustainable Water Goals 2007-2010)

The European Sustainable Water Goals (ESWG 2007-2010) was a conference programme on sustainable water management with special attention to European water policies and focusing on a number of issues related to the Water Framework Directive (WFD 2000/60). Ensuring the sustainability of all water use is widely recognised as a strategic necessity in the European Union, as Europe is currently in lead position as advocate of new approaches toward the sustainable uses of water, in order to preserve this limited resource for future generations. The WFD establishes new methodological approaches for water resource management based on the concept of river basins, the natural geographical and hydrological units, whit the aim of protecting the natural cycle of water. Rather than focusing on mere functions or water units, it is the water bodies and their ecologic quality that have become the primary focus on the normative process set up by the WFD.

Within this framework the series of conference was organised with the attempt of provide early stages researchers with sound knowledge on water management. The conferences were organised for four subsequent years as a five-day intensive training period. The training offered by the conferences was based on an original approach that required an active role of all the participants and the interaction between leading experts and young researchers. Each conference, organised on a five-days basis, included a general theoretical introduction to the issues analysed during the week.

Subsequently, each conference was divided in two formats: (i) morning sessions, with leading keynote speakers analysing different perspectives of each selected topic and (ii) afternoon sessions, including poster-sessions and participants' presentations.

Participants were selected among early stage and experienced researcher from all EU member States (and in some cases from developing countries) according to the specificity of research topics. Special attention was paid for gender balance as well as for a balanced representation of all MSs. Selected participants were awarded of a mobility grant in order to cover travel and accommodation costs. The training followed an innovative methodological approach, focusing on the needs of new models for integrated water management in line with the WFD, as well as with the new challenges coming out of the Directive at the local, national and supra-national levels.

The series of conferences was based on a coherent series of events. Each event analysed a combination of at least five distinct issues, both in a theoretical perspective and with reference to specific case studies and applications. In particular, each event was organised with: (i) a preliminary introduction given by a key note speakers, and then (ii) presentations given by other keynote speakers, followed by general discussions with researchers and concluding remarks again by a member of the teaching staff.

During the discussion, part of time was allotted to consider opportunities and difficulties that the young generation of researchers is facing. Issues related to publication opportunities, preparing for review processes in leading journals, etc, was also considered, in order to enhance the complementary skills of researchers and their career opportunities, therefore fulfilling the objective s of this Marie Curie Action. As a practical aspect, the Ca' Foscari University of Venice provided the scientific and logistical coordination of the vents. A Steering Committee of representatives from 12 scientific institutions and universities was created to ensure the high scientific quality of the training courses. ESWG was developed in conjunction with the JRC of Ispra, the EC organisation in charge for the WFD implementation. ESWG supported the training by providing an international scientific platform, and helping to develop careers and mobility of EU researchers.

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