Croatia’s location between the Danube River region (in the north) and the Adriatic Sea (in the south), with its plentiful fresh water resources and large coastal region, makes the water management a high priority in Croatia.
In year 2000 a new directive was introduced in Member States of the European Union: the Water Framework Directive (WFD), center piece of modern and environmentally sound water management in Europe. As an accession country, Croatia is obliged to implement all EU directives, just like the Water Framework Directive. This includes not only a mere transposition of the directive into national law, but also a practical implementation of requirements stated in the Directive.
In order to facilitate the implementation of this new and challenging directive, Croatia applied for assistance in the form of a EU-Twinning Project with Germany as senior Twinning partner and the Netherlands as junior partner: this is us!
In September 2007 we started with the project and it was finalized in autumn 2009.
Institution and Capacity building
Our main objectives are to strengthen the institutional and administrative capacity of Croatian water administration as well as relevant stakeholders (e.g. universities and NGOs) and thus improve national water quality standards.
We facilitate knowledge transfer and experience exchange between Member State experts and their Croatian counterparts on national and regional level. Our focus was set on the main water management institutions in Croatia: Ministry for Regional Development, Forestry and Water Management and Hrvatske vode (Croatian Waters).
Apart from that we closely cooperated with the Faculty of Science-Department of Biology (PMF) at the University of Zagreb and the Croatian Environmental Agency (AZO). But we also involved NGOs, other water related projects and research facilities.
Furthermore we were also in close contact with projects in other accession countries, the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube (ICPDR) and the Sava Commission. With this we provided information exchange on international levels and within international boards.
Since the core part of our work was information exchange, we regularly offer ed trainings in form of workshops or meetings. During these meetings our experts together with their Croatian counterparts developed roadmaps and strategies to implement specific aspects of the WFD.
Another important tool for information exchange is a study tour, to Germany and the Netherlands. Sometimes it is far easier to explain something by providing a practical example than only talking about it in theory.
In addition, we organized practical trainings in German or Dutch facilities (e.g. laboratory trainings) so that our Croatian colleagues can familiarize themselves with special equipment or methodologies.
Implementing the WFD