4,500+ scientists call on European Commission to defend the EU water law

Brussels, 6 December 2019 – Scientists and academics concerned by the dire state of European rivers, lakes and wetlands have released a statement calling on the EU to fully implement and enforce its own water law – the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) – in order to halt and reverse the catastrophic decline in the world’s freshwater biodiversity.

The statement has been endorsed by nine scientific bodies representing over 4,000 scientists, and nearly 500 individual scientists specialising in the wide array of species impacted by the WFD – from amphibians to insects, freshwater fishes to birdlife. The scientists include Dr. Jörg Freyhof, Regional Chair, IUCN/WI Freshwater Fish Specialist Group, and Professor Carlos Garcia de Leaniz, Director, director of Swansea University’s Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research.

The statement was released earlier today alongside an op-ed for Euractiv by Professor Steven Weiss – a freshwater biodiversity expert at the University of Graz and one of the statement’s signatories.

The statement describes the WFD as a critical tool for ensuring that Europe has “healthy and resilient freshwater bodies to support people and nature, today and in the future”, and draws attention to the law’s “holistic approach” to water management. It is released as the European Commission is in the final stages of a standard evaluation of the WFD – known as a “fitness-check” – which is designed to assess whether the law is still relevant and fit for purpose. The final conclusions of this evaluation are expected at the end of this year.