Background European River Symposium


The EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 and the EU Green Deal shaping Europe's Water Management



The 2021 European River Symposium is a continuation of an effort begun in 2013, with the convening of the first European River Symposium, to strengthen efforts to protect, restore and better manage rivers in Europe. The Symposium will be a forum for presentation of information about the state of rivers, highlighting important problems, and examples and initiatives realizing improvements in protection and restoration of rivers. Above all the Symposium will focus on building connections between institutions and organisations (including businesses) with an interest in rivers and whose activities affect the health and quality of river water and ecosystems.


EU Green Deal

The Symposium will highlight the changes to rivers and specific actions that have been brought about by the European Legislation (the Water Framework Directive) and most importantly the possibilities and opportunities presented by the European Green Deal and European Biodiversity Strategy. These new initiatives provide significant basis for strengthening the efforts and actions to protect and restore rivers and their associate ecosystems and to ensure that rivers can continue to provide the services and benefits to people they are capable of.


In continuation.

Beginning in 2013 and again in 2014 and 2016 the European River Symposium has brought together various actors and organizations involved in or affecting the quality and health of rivers – the 2021 event will be a continuation of the effort to celebrate and promote positive actions in support of rivers. Above all the 2021 Symposium will build upon the efforts of the previous Symposium to bring together the key sectors and actors who have an interest in and influence on the health of rivers – International River Commissions, National Agencies, River Basin Organizations, Non-governmental Organizations concerned about rivers and biodiversity, River Restoration Practitioners, City Government representatives and water supply and sanitation organizations, and large industry (both water consuming and quality impacting) and services associated with rivers such as Hydropower, Agriculture, Tourism and Navigation.


Meeting place

The symposium will set the stage by guiding the leap from the EU Policy level to local realities through presentation of high level briefs and dialogue in panels with direct implementors and practitioners. The Symposium will involve a mix presentations which will set the stage for understanding rivers and the current political and legal climate in managing them (especially from the EU) followed by working groups and dialogue between actors interested in and affecting rivers. Special focus will be on alignment and exploration of interests between water users (water supply, navigation, agriculture, and hydropower) and conservation and planning and management authorities. Case studies and examples will be explored in more detail in these groups. The event will also highlight the work of Past and Future Winners of the European River Prize and International River Prize.