21 December 2021 | 6 minutes.

The Water Framework Directive: Europe’s environmental success story?

View of Elbe River, Switzerland.

Photo: Sangga Rima Roman Selia

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Claire Baffert
Senior Water Policy Advisor at WWF (European Policy Office)

Claire Baffert, Senior Water Policy Advisor at WWF (European Policy Office)

The Water Framework Directive (WFD) is widely considered one of the most important and successful examples of environmental legislation from the EU. We sat down with Claire Baffert, Senior Water Policy Advisor at WWF to learn more.

Other regions in the world look to the WFD as a suitable model for managing the complexities of equitable water management in a multinational and multicultural region. What do you see as the WFD’s principal successes?

The WFD has set very high and comprehensive standards for water management in Europe. It has translated into legislation the central idea that we must protect and restore our freshwater ecosystems in order to secure a sufficient supply of good quality water for humans and nature. To me the first recital of the directive is very telling: “Water is not a commercial product like any other but, rather, a heritage which must be protected, defended and treated as such.”

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