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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Félicitations à la Région PACA

World Water Forum 2012 in Marseille!

On Friday, the World Water Council selected Marseille (France) as the city and country to host the 2012 World Water Forum. The selection followed a process for evaluating the candidates and a final vote from the Council's Board of Governors. The World Water Forum is the world's largest water gathering that brings together over 20,000 political leaders, NGOs, government officials, water professionals, and scientists every three years.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Meeting next Thursday 25th June

Date: 25th June 2009. 17h30.
Venue: Room JDE53 - Committee of the Regions. Rue Belliard 99-101 Brussels.

Provisional Agenda: (version 1, as proposed the 18th May)

The meeting will be hold simultaneously to the Zero Plus conference.
Please check the agenda of the Zero Plus seminar, as the speakers may be of your interest.

17:30 - 18:00
Welcome and project forum corner.

Round Table about new answers for water treatment in the industrial sector; future collaboration and new sustainable project ideas.

Moderator: Mr Alfonso Alcolea
Proposals. ENPI project on water management “Water communities”.
LIFE+ project - Wateregio. FP7 on conductions of water

18:00 Closed-door meeting.

§ Approval of the record of activities.
§ Report about legal personality of Wateregio.
§ New steering committee.
§ Other business

Friday, June 12, 2009

Annual bathing water report 2009

Bathing water quality improving
The annual bathing water report was presented the 11th June by the European Commission and the European Environment Agency reveals that the large majority of bathing sites across the European Union met EU hygiene standards in 2008. During that bathing season some 96% of coastal bathing areas and 92% of bathing sites in rivers and lakes complied with minimum standards. The report provides useful water quality information for the millions of people who visit Europe's beaches every summer.
Bathing water quality shows a long-term upward trend
Every summer millions of Europeans head for the beach to enjoy the sun and to cool down in refreshing clean water. To allow Europeans to make an informed choice on which beach to choose, the Commission publishes a yearly report on the quality of coastal and freshwater bathing areas as reported by Member States for the beaches located within their territory. This year the report was prepared by the European Environment Agency (EEA), which is also making available on its website maps and tables with detailed information on specific bathing areas.

In 2008 the number of bathing waters monitored increased by some 75 sites. Of the 21,400 bathing areas monitored throughout the European Union in 2008 two thirds were on the coast and the rest were along rivers and lakes. The largest number of coastal bathing waters can be found in Italy, Greece, France, Spain and Denmark while Germany and France have the highest number of inland bathing waters .
The overall quality of bathing waters in the EU has markedly improved since 1990. Compliance with mandatory values ( minimum quality requirements) increased over the 1990 to 2008 period from 80% to 96% and from 52% to 92% in coastal and inland waters respectively. From 2007 to 2008 compliance increased both for inland and coastal waters (1.1 and 3.3 percentage points respectively).
Twelve Member States monitoring under the new bathing directive
Bathing areas are zones where bathing is explicitly authorised or where bathing is traditionally practised by a large number of bathers and is not prohibited.
To determine their quality bathing waters are tested against a number of physical, chemical and microbiological parameters for which the Bathing Water Directive
1 sets out mandatory values. Member States must comply with the mandatory values but may adopt the stricter standards and non-binding guide values .

In 2006 a new bathing water directive
2 took effect which updated the parameters and monitoring provisions in line with the latest scientific knowledge. The new Directive places greater emphasis on providing information to the public on the quality of bathing areas. Member States have until 2015 to fully implement the new Directive but twelve Member States (Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden) already monitored their bathing areas during the 2008 bathing season according to the parameters of the new Directive.
The report
A summary of the report and detailed country reports are available in English on the Commission’s bathing water website at:

Zoomable maps of all European bathing areas can be viewed on the EEA website :

1 :Directive 76/160/EEC on the quality of bathing water
2 :Directive 2006/7/EC on the management of bathing water quality

Monday, June 8, 2009

U@MARENOSTRUM, strengthening Public Participation for water protection and management

The Valencian Region works together with regions from France and Greece to promote citizen's partiticipation for European issues
A new e-Participation project called U@MARENOSTRUM has been started this year. The project is co-funded by the European Commission within the e-Participation Call for Proposals 2008 and aims to involve citizens and local actors (community groups, associations etc.) from the Mediterranean costal zones in decision-making processes with the help of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) and GIS (Geographic Information System). These processes have to do with the adoption and implementation of water and marine environmental protection policies and legislations in the Mediterranean region in accordance with the European Union (EU) environmental legislation. The project will be developed between 1st of January 2009-31st of December 2009 by cooperation of the following entities: : GFI Benelux, Gov2u (Greece), The Region of Ionian Islands (Greece), Hellenic Centre for Marine Research– Greece, Foundation Comunidad Valenciana-Región Europea (Spain), The Community of French Riviera (France) and Directorate General for Modernization of Valencia (Spain).

The project will lead to the development of a user friendly portal that captures information on a geographical map. The citizens will be able to register and post their views about water issues by placing flags with written comments to appropriate locations on the maps that will exist on this portal. Additionally they will be able to participate in discussion forums on specific policy issues that will be proposed by the local or national authorities or by them. In order to contact and directly interact with the decision-makers, citizens will be able to use online petitions and letters to officials in which they can express their views, concerns and questions related to environmental issues. The platform will also feature a section that visualizes the different stages of the legislative process in a graphical matrix - from the introduction of a new topic, to the consultation process, the discussion and the passing of a draft bill in the local or regional Council or in the Parliament.

Trial applications during a period of 14 months will be conducted in 3 end-user locations around the Mediterranean region; namely the Region on Ionian Islands (Greece), the French Riviera (France) and the Region of Valencia (Spain). Three internet platforms will be hosted at the end of August 2009 in the participating regions and will be given a regional ‘look and feel’ (including language) to ensure users’ participation. The platforms will be specifically designed to serve the citizens from the participating regions, but citizens from other regions of these countries will be welcome to use the platforms, as well.

In order to identify the best ways to increase the participation of the citizens in this project, a study has already been developed in order to analyze the attitudes of the citizens from the participating countries regarding their participation in environmental decision-making. At the same time, during March, a survey has been conducted among more than 150 citizens and public officials from the participating countries, in order to accurately gather the users’ requirements and needs regarding the functionality of the U@Marenostrum platform, so as to ensure its sufficiency in its utility.

For further information about the U@Marenostrum project you are welcome to visit the project’s website: www.uatmarenostrum.eu

La Comunitat Valenciana promueve la participación ciudadana en la gestión del agua

Este año ha empezado un nuevo proyecto llamado U@MARENOSTRUM. Este proyecto cofinanciado por la Comisión Europea en el marco de la Convocatoria 2008 del Programa e-Participation tiene como objetivo implicar a los ciudadanos y agentes locales de la zona costera Mediterránea (asociaciones, grupos de interés, etc.), a través de las Tecnologías de la Información y la Comunicación (TIC) y los Sistemas de Información Geográfica (SIG) en el proceso en el legislativo necesario para la adopción e implementación de las políticas y la normativa de protección del agua y del medio marino en la región mediterránea de acuerdo con la legislación medioambiental de la Unión Europea. El proyecto se desarrollará desde el 1 de enero de 2009 hasta el 31 de diciembre de 2010 con la cooperación de las siguientes entidades: GFI (Bélgica), Gov2u (Grecia), la Región de las Islas Jónicas, (Grecia), el Centro Helenístico de Investigación Marina (Grecia), la Fundación Comunidad Valenciana-Región Europea (España), la Comunidad de la Riviera Francesa (Francia) y la Dirección General de Modernización de la Conselleria de Justicia y Administraciones Públicas de la Comunidad Valenciana (España).

El proyecto desarrollará una plataforma sencilla de utilizar que contendrá toda la información en un mapa geográfico. Los ciudadanos podrán registrarse y opinar sobre cuestiones relativas al agua ubicando banderas con comentarios sobre localizaciones recogidas en un mapa que estará disponible en la plataforma. Además los usuarios podrán participar en foros de debate relativos a temas políticos concretos propuestos por entidades locales o nacionales o por los mismos ciudadanos. Para poder contactar e interactuar directamente con los políticos, los ciudadanos podrán utilizar varias herramientas como peticiones online y enviar cartas a los políticos en las que podrán expresar sus puntos de vista, inquietudes y preguntas relativas a aspectos medioambientales. La plataforma contará también con una herramienta para visualizar los diferentes pasos del proceso legislativo en un gráfico, desde la introducción de un nuevo tema, hasta el proceso consultivo, el debate y la aprobación de un anteproyecto.

Durante catorce meses se realizará un período de pruebas en tres regiones europeas de la zona mediterránea: la Región de las Islas Jónicas (Grecia), la Rivera Francesa (Francia) y la Comunitat Valenciana. A finales de agosto de 2009 dichas regiones dispondrán de una plataforma regional adaptada a las necesidades de cada territorio (incluido el lenguaje) para asegurar la participación de los usuarios. Las plataformas estarán diseñadas para atender a los ciudadanos de las regiones participantes, aunque los ciudadanos de otras regiones o países también están invitados al uso de las mismas.

Con el objetivo de identificar la mejor manera de incrementar la participación de los ciudadanos en este proyecto, previamente se ha desarrollado un estudio que analiza las actitudes de los ciudadanos de estas tres regiones ante la participación ciudadana en el proceso legislativo en materia medioambiental. Paralelamente, durante el mes de marzo, se ha realizado una encuesta a más de 150 ciudadanos y representantes políticos de las regiones participantes para recabar los requisitos y necesidades de los ciudadanos en cuanto a la funcionalidad de la plataforma U@Marenostrum y con ello asegurar su utilidad.

Para más información sobre el proyecto U@Marenostrum visite la página web del proyecto: www.uatmarenostrum.eu