Participation of the Public and Water Framework Directive in Bavaria
The Water Framework Directive (WFD) establishes new standards for public participation in water management. With its Water Forum the Bavaria takes the right approach in the first implementation stage.
The Water Framework Directive provides the involvement of the public in water management issues to an unprecedented extent. According to article 14 of the WFD, the Member States are required to encourage the active involvement of the public for the implementation of the WFD. The provisions of the WFD give the Member States of the European Union considerable flexibility in designing the respective legal and procedural provisions. On behalf of the Bavarian State Ministry for Regional Development and Environmental Affairs Ecologic designed and organized the kick-off conference of the Water Forum Bavaria and provided the necessary policy advice. With the Water Forum Bavaria an extensive public participation effort in the context of the Water Framework Directive has been successfully started in Bavaria.
About 100 representative of all main associations, organisations and governmental agencies involved in water management attended the conference. The main objectives of the conference were to get an impression of the stakeholders' expectations to identify the future participants of the Water Forum and to gain an overview about the participants' expertise. Twelve representatives of selected interest groups were given the opportunity to present their positions. In doing so, they were guided by a draft paper prepared by Ecologic about the main ideas and goals of the Water Forum. This draft paper and the various positions were subsequently discussed by the plenum.
During the three month following the kick-off meeting the broad public were given the opportunity to discuss the results of the conference [pdf, 194 KB, German]. By the end of April 2003 the Bavarian State Ministry for Regional Development and Environmental Affairs finally decided on the composition of the Water Forum.
The careful selection of the stakeholders by Ecologic in the preliminary stages of the conference, the concept of a panel open for further suggestions by the participants themselves and the various opportunities for a direct exchange and discussions between the stakeholders and the responsible authorities provided the optimal basis for a well balanced composition of the stakeholder groups in the Forum, for the clearly formulated objectives of the Forum and, last but not least, for a working structure facilitating effective working relationships in the future.