Informal meeting of environment ministers: the challenges of water management in the light of adaptation to climate change

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Ministers also discussed the international aspect of adaptation in light of the preparations for the November climate conference in Glasgow. A recent agreement with the European Parliament on European climate law presents a positive signal to raise international ambition at COP26. Minister Vizjak congratulated the Portuguese Presidency for its hard work.

Ministers discussed challenges related to priority actions to address water aspects under the new EU strategy on adaptation to climate change. In this regard, the importance of intersectoral coordination and stakeholder participation was emphasized. The Portuguese Presidency has also foreseen the debate on the good practices of the Member States and their experiences in addressing these challenges. The importance of action at the local level and cooperation with other stakeholders, in particular the participation of civil society and the private sector, was underlined. Scientific decisions and digital solutions (better and faster processing and exchange of meteorological data) must be taken into account when introducing measurements. The importance of nature-based solutions was also emphasized.

In the afternoon, special attention was paid to the risk of drought and water scarcity, the consequences of climate change being often water-related (intense rainfall, floods, droughts). Adaptation strategies and plans need to be improved and updated in order to tackle this problem.

Minister Andrej Vizjak underlined that the measures foreseen in the framework of the new EU strategy constitute the basis for new actions in water management. The existing Water Framework Directive has made a significant contribution to improving water management and protecting water sources in the EU. “Compliance with the principles of the EU Water Framework Directive is essential to ensure the sustainable management of water resources and reduce their consumption,” Minister Vizjak underlined.

The water quality in Slovenia is relatively high. Slovenia is rich in groundwater sources providing 97% of the drinking water supply and also being an important source of minerals in thermal waters. That is why we must fight for a sustainable management of water and aquatic land. Nevertheless, various actions are carried out to adapt to climate change in water, by introducing sustainable flood protection devices and developing methods to cope with drought. In recent years, various stakeholders have been involved in resilience building processes. Slovenia is also active in cross-border cooperation at bilateral level and in the wider region.

Minister Andrej Vizjak underlined that the Revovery and Resilience plan considered flood measures as an important part of our activities for efficient water management and climate adaptation. Also underlines that we have, since 2018, a flood warning and forecasting system in the Sava river basin, based at the Environmental Agency of the Republic of Slovenia in Ljubljana.

“Since 2006, Slovenia has hosted the South Eastern Europe Drought Management Center – DMCSEE, which provides support in the development and use of tools to manage the effects of drought and policy development. appropriate, said Minister Andrej Vizjak.

Ministers also paid considerable attention to the international aspect of the EU’s climate change adaptation strategy, which is particularly important in light of the preparations for the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. The EU should continue to form strong alliances with the main developing countries and promote international actions. “That is why we are supporting enhanced international cooperation with the most vulnerable countries, as well as the activities planned under the Green Agenda in the Western Balkans,” said Minister Andrej Vizjak.

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