European policy aims at “ensuring the sustainability of all activities that impact on water, thereby securing the availability of good-quality water for sustainable and equitable water use”. Rio 2012 sets the importance of developing policies to achieve water, energy and food security. Drinking water supply, energy production, and agriculture are all based on water and land resources. Demographic growth, urbanisation and climate change are increasing the pressure on these limited resources. Water and land constraints, as well as the impacts of single sectoral approaches on other sectors, have to be considered in the development of water, energy and food solutions. EU2020 Strategy – smart, sustainable and inclusive growth – have set the scene for the framework to integrate challenging economic, social and environmental conditions.
This is the right time to start the Freshwater based Bioeconomy BIOEAST Thematic working group chaired by the Czech Republic under the project BIOEASTsUP, that will tackle the water issue in a broad perspective in a close relation to the water, food and energy nexus in the context of the „European Green Deal”, that should enable European citizens and businesses to benefit from a sustainable green transition.
The sectors linked to freshwater use: agriculture, aquaculture, rural development in the freshwater banks, natural resource, landscape management, and energy production are still separate sectors, and the silo-based approach prevails. During the past decades, the environmental aspects were the horizontal common aspects along that the sectors discussed by themselves. Today there is a horizontal challenge, the sustainable use of natural resources in the context of climate change and biodiversity. The systemic approach for the sustainable use of freshwater requires a sustainable interlinkage with the circular bioeconomy. The freshwater resources in itself, the potential biomass (bioresources) coming from the freshwater basins and land-based primary production requires a horizontal inclusive approach.
The BIOEAST Thematic Working Group Fresh Water Based Bioeconomy targets to build up a strategic research and innovation agenda to back up the ongoing policies linked to freshwater use and fresh water-based bioresources.
Synthesizing and building on the outcome of the 1st-day high-level conference, the BIOEAST Thematic Working Group on Fresh Water Based Bioeconomy organizes a half-day thematic discussion. The discussions are planned in two consecutive panels: an open discussion and a closed session only for BIOEAST member states representatives. The open session aims to introduce and inform the member states representatives on the future research and innovation priorities and funding schemes of the next Horizon Europe framework program with specific regard to freshwater and bioeconomy, moreover about the ongoing developments on setting the priorities for the Commission proposals o European Green Deal. During the closed panel discussions, the TWG members will discuss the group’s draft terms of reference and action plan in the context of the future BIOEAST Strategic Research and Innovation agenda.