Monday, 10 September 2012

Steering the Water EIP

Last week was a big week for the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Water with the first meeting of its High-level Steering Group on 4 September. This initial meeting was chaired by European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potocnik and representing SusChem and the chemical industry on the Steering Group was Anton Valero, Dow Country Manager for Spain and Portugal.

The EIP Steering Group provides strategic guidance for the development of the partnership’s Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP). Discussion at this first meeting of the Steering Group focused on four questions:

  • Which enabling factors are required to develop a strategic agenda for water and innovation?
  • Which do you consider to be the key priority areas of action and what do you consider to be a realistic number of priorities for the EIP on Water?
  • What are the key crosscutting themes which the EIP on Water should address?
  • Which assessment criteria do you consider to be relevant to judge the success of the EIP on Water?

Commissioner Potocnik outlined some of the outcomes of the meeting during a session of the European Parliament’s Water Group that followed the Steering Group kick off meeting. In particular he highlighted priorities including the water-energy nexus, water governance, financing for innovation, resource efficient urban water supply and wastewater treatment, balancing supply and demand, integration of rural water management and land-use planning, water supply and sanitation for small rural communities, and best practices in industrial water management.

The definition of priorities to be addressed will be an important step in the preparation of the SIP.

Task Force
The Steering Group consists of 30 members and a Task Force consisting of 45 members representing a wide cross-section of Stakeholders engaged in various areas of water management has also been set up. The nomination of Task Force members was one of the actions carried out during the 4 September meeting. SusChem will be represented in the Task Force by Gernot Klotz and Anton Valero has appointed Markus Busch, also from Dow, as his representative on the body.

The first Task Force meeting will take place on 25 September and the body has the specific task of writing the SIP. The document should be finished by the end of November and approved by the Steering Group before the end of the year.

Chemical viewpoint
At the initial meeting Anton Valero outlined the role of the Chemical Industry in the EIP. The chemical industry thinks the EIP should be considered as a framework to boost know-how, innovation and job creation across the EU on water related technologies and solutions.

Water is on the one hand a valuable and necessary resource for our industries’ activities, future growth and investments depends on the availability of water; while on the other hand the industry uses water in its products and manufactures products for water offering new solutions to the market.

The chemical industry has identified four key water-related challenges in Europe:

  • Water as a resource: Quantity and Quality
  • Waste water treatment: more sustainable
  • Water – Energy resources nexus
  • The development of the bio-based economy and eco-industries

The industry fully supports the overarching objectives of the EIP to develop innovative solutions bringing benefits for the whole society and to fully exploit the commercial opportunities for these water related innovative solutions inside and outside Europe building a more sustainable and competitive European industry.

The background to the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Water is outlined in the European Commission Communication of May 2012. The EIP will be a tool to support the Blueprint to safeguard Europe's water resources, which will be presented by the Commission in November 2012 as the water milestone of the European Commission’s Resource Efficiency roadmap.

For more information on SusChem activities in the water sector contact Antonia Morales Perez, Innovation Manager at Cefic.

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