Vienna, Austria – As part of the European River Restoration Conference, five European river basins committed themselves to working together. The river basins include: the Arpa in Armenia, Irpen in Ukraine, Irwell in England, Orbigo in Spain, and Rhone in France. Under the facilitation of the European Centre for River Restoration, the five parties will develop and share their best practices and knowledge in order to stimulate larger scale river restoration.
Five river basins from across Europe that want to pursue more ambitious efforts to restore the health of their rivers launched a new initiative to develop and share their knowledge and experiences in river restoration at the recently concluded European River Restoration Conference. Representatives from each river basin participated a signing ceremony that formally established a Community of Practice (CoP). This pledge to develop new knowledge on best practices and share it in the coming years will be facilitated by the European Centre for River Restoration (ECRR). Wetlands International is supporting the CoP as a partner, along with the Government Service for Land and Water Management of the Netherlands (DLG).
Hil Kuypers, Secretary of the European Centre for River Restoration and a project manager at DLG stated, “The launch of this CoP marks a concrete result of ECRR’s initiatives and activities, and its efforts to enhance cooperation among river restorers in practice. The CoP will stimulate further integration of knowledge and best practices among river basins. We hope that this will initiate more cooperation between river basins all over Europe in the coming years, and that ECRR can report some real achievements during the next World Water Forum in 2015.”
According to Wetlands International CEO Jane Madgwick, “Wetlands International is committed to strengthening our river restoration work in Europe, and we look forward to supporting this valuable initiative. I’m confident that the river basins involved will benefit by gaining inspiring new ideas that help them deliver more ambitious river restoration efforts at a wider scale.”
All the parties see a great opportunity through their participation to achieve greater river basin level planning and more involvement of stakeholders to support river restoration. The goals of the CoP also include: developing new best practices in relation to land and land-use planning, disseminating knowledge and experience to outside river restoration networks, developing innovative ways to communicate, and organising trainings, fieldtrips and knowledge exchanges.
The idea of a European river CoP had its origins in 2011-2012 when ECRR and its partners convened stakeholder meetings, including a discussion during the 6th World Water Forum in Marseille, France. It was concluded that an excellent way to move the river restoration agenda forward would be to encourage a number of river basins to pilot and share their progress and experiences. The progress of the CoP will be reported on at the next World Water Forum in South Korea in 2015.
The full proceedings of the European River Restoration Conference - including presentations and video of all sessions and keynote speeches – will be available in the coming weeks on the RESTORE website.
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