Publications on River Restoration in Europe

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The Participation of Stakeholders and the Civil Society in the Basins of Rivers, Lakes and Aquafiers.

Nowhere in the world is there a single manager who is solely responsible for the governance of freshwater resources, their related structures and services! If the national administrations and their agencies enable to define the institutional framework, to implement and manage the main structuring infrastructure and then to mobilize part of the funding, the regional and local authorities, like the States of a federation, the Provinces or the municipalities, but also farmers, companies, fishermen and other economic stakeholders play a key role, with the associations and NGOs, for mobilizing the citizens and carrying out many local projects that contribute to the success of the River Basin Management Plans. The implementation of many decisions is only possible when there is a strong commitment and if all public and private, collective or individual stakeholders concerned are mobilized.

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Water resources management should be organized everywhere with a participation in decision-making, at the side of the concerned government administrations, local authorities, representatives of different categories of users and environmental protection associations or groups of collective interest. In each country, a clear legal framework should specify the rights, obligations and responsibilities of the various stakeholders involved, the possible levels of decentralization, as well as the procedures and means necessary for good freshwater governance: The participation of all stakeholders and the civil society should be organized to enable the genuine mobilization of all partners. INBO recommends that this participation be organized in the form of Basin Committees or Councils.

Many examples, some of them for several decades have shown there is much interest in associating, with the representatives of the Governments, States, Regions or Provinces, Municipalities, the different categories of water users, as well as the representatives of associations of collective interest, especially within Basin or Sub-basin Committees, Councils or Commissions, when they exist, as well as in working groups or subcommittees in International Transboundary Basin Commissions or Authorities. Today, efforts must be increased to obtain a real and efficient participation at basin level, through various mechanisms. This document underlines why participation is so important in water resource management. It describes the key elements of the participation in water management and it gives numerous concrete examples from basins around the world which show what can be done to make the participation of stakeholders and civil society a reality and an add-value in the decision making process at basin level.

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