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Onema organised a meeting in Paris for 120 environmental economists and river-basin managers from 11 European countries to discuss economic instruments used to support management efforts for water and aquatic environments.

The On 9/10 December, Onema organised a European seminar on economic instruments used for the management of water and aquatic environments in Europe. The discussions dealt with the capacity of standard instruments (taxes, fees, expenses) to change the behaviour of consumers, funding mechanisms for river-basin management plans, U.S. and Australian use of suitable market-based tools (rarely used in Europe) for management of diffuse pollution and water draw-offs.

The timing of the recommendations made at the end of the seminar was critical because the first programmes of measures for the river-basin districts had just been adopted. Their implementation required new funding mechanisms, particularly to restore aquatic environments and conserve ecosystem services. The seminar highlighted the necessary diversity of instruments (both economic and market) for water policy and aquatic environments, which raises practical issues concerning their formulation and implementation, as well as their economic and environmental performance.

The relevance of instruments is clearly linked to legal, institutional and social considerations specific to each local and regional context. Above and beyond these aspects, the seminar stressed the importance of multi-disciplinary discussions on water management, notably in view of creating the necessary conditions for collective action and providing consistent answers to the questions of operational players in the field. Seminar results will be made available to the European experts in charge of implementing the European water framework directive (WFD) and the common European strategy.

They will serve to assist public decision-making by providing scientific and technical information. Finally, they will contribute to better definition of the priorities governing calls for research proposals in the field of water economics, on both the EU and national levels, by the Ecology ministry, the Water agencies and Onema.



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