In Bratislava, environment ministers discussed water management, climate protection and its sustainable financing

In Bratislava, environment ministers discussed water management, climate protection and its sustainable financing

European Union environment ministers at their informal meeting in Bratislava discussed water management in the context of climate change, and the progress in the international climate negotiations. At the joint meeting of the ministers responsible for the environment and energy, MoE was represented by Deputy Minister of the Environment, Vladislav Smrž. Other topics included financial instruments and the management system in relation to the EU climate and energy objectives up to 2030.

During the two-day informal meeting of the Environment Council, a conference took place in Bratislava on improving water management in order to ensure harmony with the other components of the environment. The ministers used this occasion to exchange experience with tackling problems of drought, which were last discussed by the ministers of the Visegrad Group at their meeting in Lednice [1].

"This topic is among the main priorities for the Czech Republic, and also for the Czech presidency of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River this year. The Czech Republic is very active in addressing the current problems of drought. Apart from the upcoming strategic documents aimed at combating drought, which are prepared by MoE in cooperation with other ministries, another tool for municipalities and cities are grants from the Operational Programme Environment 2014-2020 (OPE) or from national programmes. In the OPE, calls were published for projects addressing reconstructions of water preparing plants and interconnections of water-supply systems, smart water management or water retention in the countryside by means of environmentally friendly measures. Furthermore, MoE is currently opening the receipt of applications for subsidies on new and exploratory bore holes to address the sources of drinking water, including their connection to the water supply lines. We have prepared CZK 300 million in the call for cities, municipalities or voluntary associations of municipalities [2]," stated Deputy Minister Vladislav Smrž on the topic. Other measures to fight drought in the Czech Republic include e.g. the emerging background documents for the so-called Plan for Coping with Drought [3].

The theme of drought was followed by the first point of the EU ministers meeting -- the issue of water management in the context of climate change impacts. "The lack of water is causing an imbalance between consumption and the available resources, it is therefore necessary to focus on the efficient use of water in agriculture, industry, and in cities. With regard to water resources, it is necessary to properly manage water on agricultural land and in forests, and to focus on implementation of environmentally friendly measures, which are inherently more efficient than the construction of new reservoirs," said Deputy Smrž to this issue.

The current drought status in the Czech Republic is monitored and evaluated by the CHMI in cooperation with other organisations. According to the available projections of climate models it can be expected with great likelihood that temperature will grow further in the next decades together with the associated evaporation of water and the greater risk of the occurrence and duration of droughts.

The relationship between drought and climate change is discussed in the Czech Republic in the Strategy of Adapting to Climate Change in the Conditions of the Czech Republic [4] which was approved by the Government last year. In relation to this Strategy, a so-called National Action Plan for Climate Change Adaptation will be drawn up this year. "That will formulate specific measures to be implemented, including the financial amounts which should be earmarked by the individual ministries each year over the next five years from their budget chapters. MoE wants to submit the Action Plan to the Government for approval by 31 December 2016," explained Deputy Smrž.

The ministers of EU Member States also discussed the progress of the international negotiations on climate protection, especially in connection with the preparation for the 22nd meeting of the parties to the UN Framework Convention on climate change, which will take place on 7-18 November 2016 in Morocco. The ministers appreciated the outcome of the 21st meeting in Paris, which adopted the Paris Agreement that will, as soon as it enters into force, serve as the new global legally binding instrument for climate protection. "For the follow-up negotiations and for a speedy launch of the Paris Agreement implementation, it is important to ratify it as soon as possible," said Deputy Smrž and stressed that the ratification of the Agreement by the Czech Republic and the EU should be completed before its expected entry into force (i.e. before 2020). Furthermore, it is important from the perspective of the Czech Republic that the next meetings are constructive, within the limits of the mandate given by the Paris Agreement, and that problematic topics that have been solved during the negotiations held to date are not reopened.

At the EU level, a target was adopted in 2014 for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 at least by 40% compared to baseline year 1990. The required at least 40% reduction goal for 2030 assumes the emissions will be reduced at EU level by 43% in the EU ETS sectors and 30% in sectors outside the EU ETS, compared to 2005. The Czech Republic considers the EU ETS to be the main tool for meeting the set objectives in an efficient manner and at the least possible cost and at the same time is tensely expecting a new proposal currently being prepared by the European Commission for the non-ETS sectors, including the LULUCF sector [5], which should be published in July.

As the final point, the environment ministers and energy ministers discussed financial instruments and the management system with regard to attaining the said EU objectives in the field of climate and energy. This part of the meeting was attended, in addition to the Deputy Minister of the Environment Vladislav Smrž, by a representative of the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade. In this area, the EU strives to achieve a suitable setting of the mechanisms of management and financing. As part of the review of the EU ETS, two new financial instruments are planned to be created to this end: the so-called Modernisation and Innovation Funds.


[1] Details of the results of the negotiations in Lednice can be found here.

[2] Details on this call can be found is available here .

[3] For more about the upcoming drought measures and grant programs see that release and also the presentation .

[4] So called Adaptation Strategy of the Czech Republic was approved by the Czech Government on 26.10.2015 and is based on changes observed in climate at the global, European and national level, and presents the assumptions of further climate development, including the likely impacts on the territory of the Czech Republic. These include extreme weather events such as torrential rain or prolonged drought. The material that was prepared by the MoE together with meteorologists, scientists and other authorities, concerns 8 ministries in particular. It identifies the priority areas of the economy and of the environment which will be the most impacted by climate change, and summarises the appropriate adaptation measures. For more on the Adaptation Strategy see these documents.

[5] LULUCF: Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry.

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