14th Summer School of the Assembly of European Regions

Executive Secretary of the ICPDR, Philip Weller, explained today his experience in river management in the Danube River Basin at the AER Summer School being held in the Universidad Politécnica of Valencia (Spain).

The Assembly of European Regions is since 1985 the political forum and the representative organization of 250 European regions, working for democracy, solidarity and cross-border cooperation in the whole continent. The Assembly of European Regions organizes since 1996 this meeting that annually gets together young Parliament representatives, political parties, European communications agencies and regional experts in the thematic issue of the year.

Mr. Weller noted that the protection of the Danube River “is important for life development within the region and its future”. Likewise, he underlined the need that different administrations work together to ensure an efficient management of this heritage site. The ICPDR is an intergovernmental organization providing a forum for cooperation on water for the 14 countries and the EU, which make up the International Commission, and has involved a variety of other organizations including the International Hydrological Program (IHP) of UNESCO and the environmental NGO WWF.

According to the Executive Secretary, the ICPDR is following the requirements of the EU Water Framework Directive, which asks for planning in water management and has identified the need to cut levels of nitrates and other pollutants from cities and agricultural before 2015.

During the conference, moderated by the director general of the Valencian Regional Office in Brussels, Juan Manuel Revuelta, also took part the director general for the Valencian Region Minister for Environment, Water, Urban Planning and Housing, José María Benlliure, who explained water management in the Valencian Region.

Mr. Benlliure stressed that “energy efficiency and environment protection are crucial factors while determining if Valencian water shortage should be reduced by either water transfers or desalination plants”. According to the director general, the region suffers a shortage of 350 hm3 per year.

To tackle this problem, Mr. Benllire explained that the Valencian Region is currently carrying out several measures, such as water transfers, water reuse and water treatment.

Finally, Suisse representative from the regions of Sankt Gallen and Thurgau, Rolf Gorf and Rolf Vorbyger, announced the organization of the AER Summer School next edition on 2010, focusing on the theme of mobility.



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