Water, Marine & Fisheries

Our Work

IEEP undertakes a wide range of work on EU water policy, focusing not only on the strategic but hugely challenging Water Framework Directive, but also on the many ‘supporting’ Directives on priority substances, flood management, ground water, bathing water, and so on. Member States have had enormous problems implementing these Directives and our analysis has sought to address both the practical challenges and the fundamental principles of water protection.

Our key work in this area includes:

Highly influential projects for the Commission, such as supporting development of the Water Blueprint and supporting the Common Implementation Strategy.

Leading studies for the European Commission to support the Fitness Check of EU water policy and to develop policy options to support the Commission Blueprint to Safeguard Europe’s Water Resources.

Leading projects to support activities under the Common Implementation Strategy of the Water Framework Directive. Undertaking detailed policy analysis within the 6th Research Framework Project ‘SCENES’ (Water Scenarios for Europe and for Neighbouring States), developing scenarios for the future of Europe’s inland waters.

Undertaking a series of studies to examine the interactions between EU water policy and EU industrial pollution control policy. Water scarcity and droughts. This study for the European Parliament looks at the EU’s approach to water scarcity and droughts, an issue which is swiftly rising up the policy agenda.

Regarding work in this area please contact: Andrew Farmer.

Latest in Water Policy

  • Plastics, Marine Litter and the Circular Economy

    Briefing and three product fiches explore circular economy solutions for reducing the flow of plastic waste into the oceans.

  • Greening taxes and subsidies in the Pacific

    IEEP will share its expertise on environmental taxation and the reform of environmentally harmful subsidies at a forum event on greening taxation and subsidies in the Pacific region during the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii.

  • Reaching for the blue gold: interdisciplinary approaches to support water management

    A new report by the European Policy Centre (EPC) summarises the existing evidence on the role of water in supporting human wellbeing. IEEP contributed to insights on the policy instruments available for sustainable water management.

  • New report: assessing the benefits of marine protected areas

    Marine Protected Areas provide a range of benefits to human wellbeing, including providing food, mitigating climate change and creating opportunities for recreation and tourism. Further steps are needed to assess and communicate these benefits, this way supporting marine conservation both globally and in the EU.

  • The Manual: Chapter 5 - Water and marine

    This is a chapter of IEEP’s Manual of European Environmental Policy. In this chapter the development of EU water pollution policy is explored, including the Water Framework Directive, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, and other directives and policies covering flooding; water scarcity; and dangerous substances in water.

  • The Manual: Chapter 13 - Sectoral policies

    This is a chapter of IEEP’s Manual of European Environmental Policy. This chapter sets out the development of some of the most important links between EU environmental policy and other policy areas, such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, transport, trade, and so on.

  • Environmental policy and the UK’s review of the EU Balance of Competences

    The UK Government’s Balance of Competences review has now taken evidence on 25 subject areas, including the 6 with the most relevance for the Environment. We take stock of the IEEP’s contributions, and consider what a possible UK renegotiation might mean for the environment.

  • Natural Capital Accounting and Water Quality: Commitments, Benefits, Needs and Progress

    A new IEEP briefing note discusses progress and challenges of water quality accounts in the context of natural capital accounting.

  • Enhancing enforcement obligations for EU environmental law

    A new study examines the challenge Member States face in ensuring inspection and enforcement of EU environmental law and considers the option of a new horizontal law to strengthen these requirements.

  • How to improve EU legislation to tackle marine litter

    This study analyses many different pieces of EU legislation to determine their relevance to marine litter, examinine their deficiencies and gaps, and propose options for improvement. Generally the gaps consist of the need for better implementation and enforcement, and increased ambition of current requirements.

  • Sustainable management of natural resources with a focus on water and agriculture

    Can sustainable management of natural resources in Europe’s agricultural sector contribute to sustainable water use? What other sectors have a role to play in significantly improving water use across Europe and what are the good practices and tools that are available? A new report for the European Parliament explores these questions.

  • The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Water and Wetlands

    This new IEEP-led report presents insights on the importance of wetlands in delivering ecosystem services that are needed to support human life, and also for people’s livelihoods and the world’s economies. The report shows that demonstrating and using the values of ecosystem services related to water and wetlands can lead to better informed, more cost-effective, and fairer decision- making.

  • The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Water and Wetlands

    This new IEEP-led report presents insights on the importance of wetlands in delivering ecosystem services that are needed to support human life, and also for people’s livelihoods and the world’s economies. The report shows that demonstrating and using the values of ecosystem services related to water and wetlands can lead to better informed, more cost-effective, and fairer decision- making.

  • The EU Water Blueprint: Assessing the policy options

    The Water Blueprint proposes action to address 12 key problems for Europe’s waters. An IEEP led study found that improved guidance, information system, data exchange and funding were the best instruments to address many of these problems, with limited scope for new law.

  • Commission unveils the Water Blueprint

    The Water Blueprint proposes action to address 12 key problems for Europe’s waters. An IEEP led study found that improved guidance, information system, data exchange and funding were the best instruments to address many of these problems, with limited scope for new law.

  • Nature and its role in the transition to a Green Economy

    This new IEEP-authored report highlighting the importance of nature to the economy aims to clarify and help mainstream nature’s role in the transition to a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.

  • Recognising the value of water and wetlands

    New TEEB study announced at Rio+20 to highlight how conservation and restoration of wetlands can benefit biodiversity and provide cost-effective and sustainable solutions in the context of a Green Economy.

  • Evidence to the House of Lords Inquiry into EU Freshwater Policy

    IEEP’s evidence to the House of Lords EU Committee explores the future of EU water policy and the challenges it faces

  • Water Scarcity Briefings

    Water scarcity is a major threat to Europe’s waters. Three briefings have been produced summarizing research on this issue and setting out the European policy context.

  • Fitness Check of EU water policy – stakeholder views

    IEEP provided support to the Commission’s development of the Fitness Check through the organisation of an online public consultation and a stakeholder workshop. The results of these two activities can be downloaded here.

Highlights